Playbook: Respond, manage and lead during a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a massive disruption in how we make, sell, and consume products, some of it having a lasting impact on the CPG industry. The immediate imperative for the industry is to pivot to consumer demand in their trusted brands, ensure the safety of their frontline staff, and keep a close watch on their working capital. Besides, we also need a plan for the emerging changes in human behavior- how we work, socialize & shop and torque our pace of digital transformation.

In these times of social distancing and lockdowns to efficiently run integrated operations, we recommend seven winning strategies by leveraging the power of AI, data engineering, and design.

  • COVID adjusted demand forecasting

    COVID-19 adjusted demand forecasting

    • Weekly forecast by SKU, customer, channel, region at scale
    • Estimate impact of COVID-19 on projected base and incremental sales
    • Short, mid term and long term scenarios

  • Efficient product supply

    Efficient product supply

    • Safety stock: Recommend right days of supply on focus SKUs
    • Ship on workbench: Risk mitigation for outbound shipping during COVID-19
    • Donate/Destroy/Trigger promo optimization for near end life products

  • Operating intelligence and BCP during COVID

    Operating intelligence and BCP during COVID-19

    • Epidemiological models to identify risk of infection to frontline staff
    • Real time monitoring, predictive and prescriptive maintenance of plant and machinery

  • Financial forecasting

    Financial forecasting

    • Working capital & cash flow projections
    • Available investment for SKU support
    • Instrument valuation and hedging

  • Revenue management

    Revenue management

    • Migration to large and base packs
    • Channel migration to e-commerce and mass channels
    • Promos for “End of Life” products

  • Integrated business performance from the home office

    Integrated business performance from the home office

    • Self-serve and find gap resolutions
    • Communicate decisions uniformly

  • COVID adjusted Category and portfolio planning

    COVID-19 adjusted category and portfolio planning

    • Demand assessment at each phase of the pandemic
    • Post COVID-19 demand drivers

  • Integrated Route-to-Market Platform

    Integrated route-to-market platform

    • Where to sell
    • What to Sell
    • How much to Sell
    • How to serve
    • Gain share of wallet

Our Approach

Route to Market

One of the perennial questions which Sales team across CPGs are trying to solve is How to ensure that their products are at the right place and for the right value? How to ensure the execution at the store happens? AI helps in bringing the right product to the right store. A single scalable platform that connects CPG enterprises to the shopper through AI and problem-solving capabilities ending the manual and disconnected decision-based business.

Our Route-to-market (RTM) journey is broken into five sections:

  • Where to sell: Identify the areas where CPGs need to increase their reach and enhance focus. AI helps in answering finding the right place.
  • What to sell: How to get the right product to the store? Using AI, localize the assortment at the store level. Answers the question of the right product at the right place.
  • How much to sell: Identifying the products to sell and how much to sell with AI-based algorithms, avoiding OOS issue at store.
  • How to Serve: How to effectively use the sales force? How to improve the productivity of the sales force? AI-based assistant for the sales force with scheduler and dynamic routing capabilities. The fully automated solution helps in planning the route for a sales representative and manages the daily schedule, right from store visit to activities that need attention. Ensuring the sales force does what they do best – ‘Selling’
  • Gain share of wallet: Real-time collaboration to know and understand the shopper better, is the key to win their wallet. Using behavioral science and image analytics we gather insights on the shopper and their behavior at the shelf, promoting short term lift along with a long-term strategy of selling in-store.
Baseline demand forecasting

Delivering up to 10% more accuracy and outperforms both demand planners and data scientists, Foresient, the forecasting, and planning platform, use machine learning to help you achieve forecasting accuracy levels that would otherwise take months, in as little as a few hours.

Seasonality, holidays, and macroeconomic drivers, amongst many other factors, predict the investments that you need to make. Foresient uses any historical data, along with thousands of built-in algorithms, to identify the best fit for your specific forecast type automatically.

The tool comes with an intuitive consumption layer, to help forecast at speed and scale and implemented on the cloud or on-premise.

COVID-19 adjusted demands

A forecasting model must change rapidly to predict consumer behaviors during the pandemic. Foresient takes a scientific approach to understand the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown and how to ease it with short, medium, and long-term business impact.

The tool works on a base forecast that is adjusted to forecast the impact and its severity. By using the Foresient forecasting platform, you gain immediate insight into consumer demand down to the store or SKU level, basis a range of market factors. The platform uses advanced machine learning and AI to get this forecast in a few hours, helping create effective supply chains.

Efficient product supply

While COVID-19 could be a catalyst for companies to relook at their global supply chain strategy, there are short term actions needed to respond to the immediate challenge.

Make contingency plans with scenario planning strategies for different situations with The solution can predict and act upon fluctuating baselines during and post COVID-19.

3. Operating intelligence and business continuity during COVID can analyze the global COVID-19 data and forecast the resulting business implications that will help you in decision making amidst the present scenario and contingency planning for staff fulfillment and operations.

Unlocking offices, stores, and factories:

  • Identify employees who have a high probability of being infected, based on demography and health data.
  • Forecast the number of employees who will be infected.
  • Predict the infected employee’s basis on their work profiles.
  • Identify the number of employees that should be allowed to work simultaneously for each of the functions, i.e., manufacturing, sales, etc., to ensure the business continuity and health/safety of their employees.
Financial forecasting

Efficient business planning and budgeting are the backbones of a company’s financials. COVID-19 impact has left many companies struggling to manage their day to day operating expenses.

The focus has dramatically shifted to a daily level view of cash flow and how do we get visibility to future liquidity requirements. Revisiting the planned number and forecasts considering COVID-19 risk can help companies sail through the current situation. Many companies are now looking for a quick turnaround to develop a forecast for multiple scenarios and some key metrics for the pandemic response.

Cash flow optimization through informed decisions around account receivables account payables, and inventory is a very useful tool to fight the current risk. Also, companies are revisiting their hedging strategies and closely monitoring their currency exposures.

In a nutshell, financial analytics with a targeted approach can help companies manage their cash flow better and plan for the current uncertainties.

To help companies stay in control and informed about their businesses, Fractal brings together a complete suite of financial analytics that is delivered through technology, domain expertise, and AIML techniques.

Revenue management

With the anticipation of a recessionary environment for the next 12 months, the companies need to think of pricing and pack mix to reset the value equation with the consumer.

What if you could dynamically track changes in the marketplace and offer new promotion plans? TradePulse will enable you to do this and even further provide inputs based on promotion sensitivity changes, pack mix changes, channel mix changes as well as overall SKU demand.

It combines multiple datasets and market signals that can help you understand all aspects of the COVID-19 impact.

Integrated performance review

In the new normal of VUCA COVID-19 world, we enable seamless cross-functional executive collaboration. This minimizes the overhead of operational & tactical decisions that allow thousands of employees to focus on more pressing business issues, health, family, hobbies to work in this new normal. We can now support intuition & judgment with historical evidence and learning and leapfrog digital transformation by converting current traditionalists to self-serve tech users. This work-life simplification empowers executives with data across devices – laptops, mobiles, tablets, desktops, collaborative war-rooms to break the silos across brands, categories, channels & geographies. We feel confident in helping entities – businesses, governments, and every individual navigate through this tough time with less pain, even if work-life becomes a less significant part of many of our lives.


  • Agile decision making can be integrated across revenue management, marketing optimization, forecasting hotspots, operational intelligence, demand and supply planning through a single source of truth, with a backbone of AI, engineering & design.
  • We leverage automated accelerators to rapidly implement the above – Concordia to ingest and harmonize data; Eugenie and Foresient for anomaly detection and forecasting; Decision Whiz, Cuddle & ERYL enable simple & human-design friendly behavioral nudges & contextual insights.
COVID adjusted category

There is a rapid shift of demand for many product categories, with some experiencing an unprecedented surge in sales, while others see flagging demand. There is a need for a COVID-19 adjusted Category and Portfolio Plan, both for the Annual Operating plan period and Stat-plan period.

We have developed a population mobility index using Google Mobility data to capture the intensity of lockdown and social distancing for the short term; At the same time, accurately assess demand at each phase of the pandemic in the post COVID-19 period. The model is continually updated as new data comes in.

Our Thinking

Case Studies

  • Bottling the benefits of data efficiency
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    Bottling the benefits of data efficiency

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  • The art of realizing in-store potential
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    The art of realizing in-store potential

    Are you looking to optimize your route to market strategy? Download our latest case study and see the benefits that an AI-based approach can provide, and how we secured a 20% rise in store visits for our CPG client.

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  • Data Harmonization
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    Data Harmonization

    Find how data synchronization and analysis platform, Concordia lead to an overall improvement of 50% in turnaround time for a Fortune 500 company.

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  • A Fortune 100 CPG company used AI to improve the accuracy of forecasting for UK tea shipments
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    A Fortune 100 CPG company used AI to improve the accuracy of forecasting for UK tea shipments

    A Fortune 100 CPG company used AI to improve the accuracy of forecasting for UK tea shipments

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  • Influencing Digital CPG Shoppers
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    Influencing Digital CPG Shoppers

    Know how behavioral science can help drive better online sales

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  • Build effective communication and product strategies
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    Build effective communication and product strategies

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  • Optimize product portfolios using Bayesian Regression analytics
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    Optimize product portfolios using Bayesian Regression analytics

    A CPG optimizes its portfolio by exploring granular opportunities at variant and retailer levels.

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  • Identify growth opportunities across functions
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    Identify growth opportunities across functions

    A CPG identifies cross-functional growth drivers for net revenue management using Bayesian Networks.

    The Big Picture A global CPG company needed to be able to predict and identify potential areas of growth that would apply to future scenarios in multiple markets and product lines (e.g., household detergent and food...

Our People