AWS for Industries

CPG Partner Conversations: Peak helps harness AI to drive efficiency and growth

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies face the challenge of driving sales and profit margins in a volatile market while chasing changing consumer trends. The CPG industry has an opportunity to harness AI (artificial intelligence) to stay ahead of today’s dynamic and competitive market. AI can dramatically impact the CPG industry in key areas, including demand forecasting and planning, personalization and consumer insights, supply chain optimization, quality control, product development, and customer service. To gain insight and inspiration, we’ve embarked on a series of conversations with executives from Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partners to showcase their leadership and expertise in the use of AI in the CPG industry.

In the latest installment of our CPG Partner Conversations blog series, we talked to Ira Dubinsky, Director, Go-to-Market at Peak, an AI company that enables companies to build, deploy and manage AI applications at scale across an entire business. In this blog, Ira Dubinsky shared his views on the importance of AI in building competitive advantage through agile supply chains and customer-centric planning.

AWS: Help our readers understand your vantage point. What’s the space you play in, and with what type of CPG executives does Peak interact?

Ira Dubinsky: Peak is an AI company that provides the platform, applications and services to help businesses harness the potential of AI to increase revenues, profits and efficiency. Peak works across a wide range of industries, and in the CPG space Peak delivers solutions in the supply chain, demand planning and operations. Peak has a number of products and applications that help make it easier for teams to apply powerful machine learning models in areas of demand forecasting and inventory optimization.

AWS: CPG companies have been managing through unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges for your customers?

Ira Dubinsky: A number of Peak’s CPG customers are facing similar challenges, largely around continued volatility in supply—coupled with higher customer expectations and a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

AWS: How do you see CPG companies adjusting their current operating environments to changing market dynamics and consumer expectations?

Ira Dubinsky: Of course, it would be amazing if we could all predict the future. Imagine being able to know, with laser accuracy, what your customers will buy, when, where, in what quantities and at what price. A crystal ball would certainly make business decisions easier, but even the most accurate demand forecast in the world can’t get you all the way there. That said, short of being able to predict exactly what’s going to happen, planning for—and leaning into—uncertainty is the next best thing for CPGs. And, in today’s increasingly volatile environment, it’s critical for businesses to utilize their data to help plan for future scenarios.

AWS: The CPG industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward the new normal, what role do technology and the cloud play for CPGs? How do you see technology enhancing the way CPGs make, move, or market their products?

Ira Dubinsky: I’m not sure there will ever be a “new normal.” We’ve yet to see one materialize after the disruption caused by the pandemic and continued macroeconomic trends. My advice for CPGs is to plan for things to never be “normal” again, so maintaining a high level of ongoing flexibility is critical when it comes to responding to changes and fluctuations in market conditions.

To win amidst the uncertainty of the modern world, CPGs need to have the capability to reimagine, reinvent and reengineer their products, supply chains, marketing strategies and overarching business models quickly and profitably.

AWS: With the current CPG industry disruption, how is your company innovating to respond to changes?

Ira Dubinsky: We’ve found that, while every business we work with is different, many of the problems they face have common underlying traits. We have a library of proven AI applications that can be deployed in four to eight weeks, tackling common business problems and rapidly adding value. This allows innovative leaders to start to harness the potential of AI quickly and easily.

Peak works with a number of strategic partners to tackle particularly complex customer challenges. For example, we’re teaming up with AWS to help companies transform how they set minimum and maximum levels of safety stock, in order to avoid over and understocking and to help determine SKU-level allocation and replenishment. For a chance to see how this works in practice, we invite CPGs to experience Peaks’ 21 Day Inventory Challenge—a 21-day sprint that leverages a snippet of customer data to show:

  • Exactly where you’re over and understocked
  • The SKUs and locations causing forecasting headaches
  • The trade-off between service level and cost-to-serve
  • How much money you’re losing to warehouse shelves or missed sales

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?

Ira Dubinsky: As I’ve said, I don’t think this will ever fully materialize. But, in my view, there are two primary areas where all CPGs need to double down and build competitive advantage: agile supply chains and customer-centric planning.

In the future, consumer expectations will only intensify as new business models, propositions and products shape demand. To be successful, CPGs will need to be able to rapidly reshape their offerings and do this in a way that is guided by a robust understanding of who their consumers are and what they want.

AWS: What makes you excited for the future of CPG?

Ira Dubinsky: The headwinds facing CPG businesses are intense, but I remain optimistic. People will always need and want products that enrich their lives, make things easier, or otherwise provide fulfillment—but we need to start doing that with a much bigger emphasis on environmental sustainability. I’m excited to see how emerging technologies continue to disrupt how those products get developed, manufactured and delivered to consumers in a more sustainable way.

AWS: Thanks for chatting with us, Ira. We appreciate your insights and expertise.

We hope you enjoy our blog series. If you have questions for Ira Dubinsky, Peak, or AWS, please leave a comment on this blog. To learn more about Peak, get in touch on their contact page.

Find all Peak solutions in AWS Marketplace »

Additional reading:

AWS Partner Spotlight

Headquartered in the United Kingdom and with offices in the United States and India, Peak powers commercial decision-making for companies around the world with its full-stack AI platform, Connected Decision Intelligence (CODI). It relies on machine learning (ML) across sales, marketing, planning, and the supply chain to accelerate revenue and profits for its customers.

Ira Dubinsky

Ira Dubinsky

Ira Dubinsky is a marketing and customer experience expert. His career has spanned four continents and a number of industries, including consumer goods, retail and food service – and even includes a stint in politics! He joined Decision Intelligence company Peak in 2022 as GTM Director and is part of the team responsible for ensuring the scale-up’s AI platform and suite of ready-to-go apps meet the needs of CPG, Retail and Manufacturing customers around the world. Prior to joining Peak, Ira held senior roles with Unilever, Marks & Spencer and YUM! Restaurants, leading on business development, digital transformation projects and launching products that delight customers and drive profitable growth. He holds an MBA from London Business School.

Kevin McCurdy

Kevin McCurdy

Kevin E. McCurdy is Global CPG Segment Lead – APN for AWS, responsible for identifying and engaging relationships with strategic ISV and SI Partners. Previously, he served as VP – Demand Signal Management at E2open; was Co-Founder and VP of Strategic Accounts for Orchestro, which was later acquired by E2open; and was also Co-Founder and VP of Business Development and Services at Mercari Technologies. Kevin has 25+ years of experience in supply chain management, category management, and demand signal management working with global CPG companies and retailers, including Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Kraft-Heinz. He holds a BSc in Business Logistics and International Business from Penn State.