CPG Partner Conversations: Exploring the growth of cloud native in CPG with MiT Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented disruption to businesses and global markets. Although most of the world appears to be past the uncertainty and turbulence of the pandemic, companies, especially in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, continue to deal with major challenges. These include supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. At the same time, consumer buying patterns and expectations that shifted during the pandemic have become the norm. Now more than ever, CPG leaders must think strategically, with an eye toward innovation and agility, to address the continued market volatility and shifting consumer preferences. To gain insight and inspiration, we at Amazon Web Services (AWS) have embarked on a series of conversations with executives from AWS Partners to showcase their leadership and expertise in challenging times.
In the latest installment of our CPG Partner Conversations blog series, we talked to Mark Maraj, vice president of sales at MiT Systems, a leader in innovative mobile apps and advanced cloud-native solutions designed for the CPG industry.
In this blog, Mark Maraj shares his views on the importance of meaningful real-time data and the growing adoption of cloud-native technologies in the CPG industry.
AWS: Help our readers understand your vantage point. What’s the space that you play in, and with what type of CPG executives does MiT Systems interact?
Mark Maraj: MiT Systems focuses on manufacturers and distributors of food, beverage, and other consumable items within the CPG industry, so we are constantly engaging company executives in sales, operations, production, and finance. These often include the director of sales, chief operating officers, manufacturing plant managers, and chief financial officers—all with different areas of focus that are critical to the overall success of the organization. By sharing their insights into the business, they can help us better understand the ever-changing technology requirements to drive more productivity, efficiency, and accountability while improving service levels to their customers.
AWS: CPG companies have been managing through unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges for your customers?
Mark Maraj: The supply chain disruptions that the industry faced during the pandemic posed extraordinary challenges for CPGs as they tried to continue to faithfully serve their retail locations in their communities. In times of crisis, communities rely on bread, milk, and other staples to provide for their families. Our customers looked to technology to help them overcome these hurdles with improved forecasting metrics to better manage their raw materials and produce the finished goods to keep the shelves stocked. In addition, using our true cloud-native enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions running on AWS, companies provided employees with secure remote access for work while adhering to company policies. MiT Systems is proud to be a small piece of the puzzle to keep things moving forward.
AWS: How do you see CPG companies adjusting their current operating environments to changing market dynamics and consumer expectations?
Mark Maraj: This is an interesting question and a hot topic in the CPG industry today. I think the key for companies is having access to meaningful, real-time data to account for both current inventory levels and customer demand so they can manufacture and deliver with just-in-time accuracy. This, coupled with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), enhances forecasting to new levels and allows companies to navigate the most dynamic environments. This innovation through collaboration with manufacturers and retailers will positively impact the entire supply chain.
AWS: The CPG industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward the new normal, what role do you see technology and the cloud playing for CPGs? How do you see technology enhancing the way CPGs make, move, or market their products?
Mark Maraj: MiT Systems provides fresh approaches to legacy issues with proven cloud-native solutions that deliver results. Retailers are mandating scan-based trading (SBT) for their manufacturing and distribution partners where product isn’t invoiced until scanned at the point of sale. Our SBT solutions provide a streamlined interface to help manage shelf stock and tolerance levels, ultimately providing more accountability and visibility at the transactional level. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a more common communication method; however, it can be a complicated process given the various versions supported and number of transaction types. We simplify this process and help resolve discrepancies, allowing for expedited payments. All these solutions are developed and supported by MiT Systems. We also offer software-as-a-service (SaaS) options for clients seeking more financial flexibility and better cash-flow management. Companies can now realize immediate benefits without significant upfront costs.
AWS: With the current CPG industry disruption, how is your company innovating to respond to changes?
Mark Maraj: In addition to ongoing supply chain issues, CPG companies are also facing labor shortages. Employees are simply not showing up to perform their daily tasks, which affects operations in numerous departments. One of the ways we’ve addressed these challenges is to develop cloud-native technology that’s easy to use and administer and appeals to the newer generation of user who is comfortable with browser-based cloud software. Teams can quickly train new employees while reducing onboarding time drastically, so turnover doesn’t adversely impact operations. After implementing these new solutions, employees can be more productive while working either onsite or remotely.
AWS: There is much talk about a “new normal” going forward. What does this new normal look like to you, and how do you think the CPG industry will look three years from now?
Mark Maraj: We are seeing a shift in how companies allocate resources by working with partners like MiT Systems to provide managed IT services. This trend includes companies looking to outsource their on-premises service workloads to the cloud. Our customers look to MiT Systems to be a trusted technology partner and view us as an extension of their IT team. This allows them to focus on servicing their retail locations, whether those are chain grocery stores, food-service organizations, restaurants, quick-serve locations, or independent mini-markets. In the new normal, companies are seeking dynamic software vendors with modern solutions that can address most of their business processes, thus reducing the number of vendors that they need. With its breadth of cloud-native, industry-specific solutions, MiT Systems can help companies achieve this goal.
AWS: What makes you excited for the future of CPG?
Mark Maraj: As a forward-looking technology company, we strive to stay on the forefront of the CPG industry. We are helping our clients adopt the latest tools, methods, best practices, and functionality and introduce new innovations to meet their business needs as they continue to evolve. We are excited to embrace the future of CPG by partnering with manufacturers and retailers to create a great user experience when purchasing consumables, while ensuring that consumers are offered the freshest, highest-quality products at a competitive price. Given that our products are all developed with modern technology building blocks, we can rapidly adapt to our clients’ needs and achieve corporate goals on time and, in many cases, ahead of schedule.
Learn how Pan-O-Gold improved efficiency by replacing its on-premises ERP system with M Cloud ERP from MiT Systems
Pan-O-Gold Baking Company (Pan-O-Gold) worked alongside AWS Partner MiT Systems to migrate from its on-premises ERP system to M Cloud ERP on AWS, achieving operational simplicity. The baking company wanted to replace its legacy system so that it could become more efficient and improve visibility. Pan-O-Gold engaged MiT Systems to implement M Cloud ERP, automating complex sales and distribution processes. By migrating to M Cloud ERP, Pan-O-Gold reduced its time to access and process sales and production data, helping it plan the next day’s operations faster and use its resources more efficiently.
AWS: Thanks for chatting with us, Mark. We appreciate your insights and expertise.
We hope you enjoy our blog series. If you have questions for Mark Maraj, MiT Systems, or AWS, please leave a comment on this blog. To learn more about MiT Systems Inc., get in touch here.
AWS Partner spotlight
MiT Systems Inc. is a provider of cloud-native enterprise-resource planning and accounting systems designed for the consumer packaged goods industry. Founded in 1997, MiT Systems is an AWS Partner and an AWS Independent Software Vendor (ISV).