Tata Consumer Products Ltd. has tapped Accenture and Blue Yonder for a supply chain digital transformation project.
The initiative aims to help Tata Consumer Products -- a company based in Kolkata, India, whose brands include tea company Tetley -- respond to shifts in buying patterns, such as the variable demand of tea during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to tea, Tata Consumer Products' lineup includes coffee, water, salt, spices and packaged food offerings.
Tata Consumer Products brought on software from Blue Yonder, which focuses on supply chain and omnichannel commerce fulfillment, for its autonomous, integrated supply chain. Accenture implemented the software. Microsoft Azure also played a role on the project as Blue Yonder's SaaS partner. The resulting digital transformation project will improve supply chain visibility to meet growing consumer demand, according to the companies.
Unpredictability, particularly in the tea supply chain, has underscored the need for better visibility and planning among consumer packaged goods companies.
"Tea has had a very interesting ride through the COVID-19 pandemic," said Shri Hariharan, go-to-market leader and vice president of industry strategy at Blue Yonder.
Tea consumption has been something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, a decrease in on-premises consumption and demand volatility in food service channels has had a negative effect on tea. In the U.S., on-premises tea consumption dropped 40% to 50% because consumers typically drink iced tea with meals at restaurants, Hariharan said.
However, in-home tea consumption, through modern and traditional channels, has increased during the pandemic, Hariharan said. "This was especially true for green and herbal tea consumption, which went up significantly due to these teas' natural detoxification and healing properties."
The front end of the supply chain, meanwhile, also experienced turbulence. The pandemic, particularly in its early stages, disrupted the leaf harvesting season for tea-exporting countries, which are concentrated in Asia, Hariharan said.
"Combined with a lack of visibility and transparency in supplies, the result was shipment [and] cargo delays," he said.
The pandemic also has implications for tea assortments. In the ready-to-drink category, black tea "was the most impacted with lower consumption," Hariharan said. The drop may be linked to the decline in on-premises consumption of iced tea. Most iced tea in the U.S. is brewed from black tea, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
"Tea supply chain planning, execution, fulfillment, visibility and overall decision support needs have [highlighted] capability gaps," Hariharan said. Those gaps have fueled value chain improvement initiatives for consumer packaged goods companies, he added.
Channel program launches and updates
- CloudBolt Software, an enterprise cloud management provider based in North Bethesda, Md., unveiled its Rainmaker channel partner program. Benefits include access to training and enablement, discounts, referral fees, market development funds and SPIFs, the company said. A partner portal and learning management system offers deal registration, not-for-resale/trial keys for partner labs, and access to CloudBolt University. CloudBolt said 100% of its leads go to partners. The company launched its first channel program in 2016.
- Deltek, a software and solutions provider based in Herndon, Va., launched Deltek Partner Network, a program with three partner tracks: the Solutions Partner Program, the Marketplace Partner Program and the Advocate Program. Deltek, which provides tools for project-based businesses, said each program track aligns with different go-to-market strategies.
- BillingPlatform, a cloud-based monetization and billing solution provider based in Denver, introduced a partner program for systems integrators, ISVs and consultancies. The program has three categories: Platform Partners, which are typically CRM or ERP providers that work with BillingPlatform to enhance their offerings; Consulting Partners, which include integrators and advisory firms; and Independent Software Partners, which provide offerings that integrate with BillingPlatform. The program includes annual joint business planning, a partner account manager, sales pipeline planning, pre-sales training and co-marketing activities.
- Coolwave Communications, a voice and messaging solutions provider based in Dublin, Ireland, rolled out a global partner program. The program aims to enable channel partners to monetize voice, messaging and cloud-based communications. The program will target service providers, carriers, VARs and systems integrators.
- Itron Inc., a Liberty Lake, Wash., company that provides smart networks and meters for utilities and cities, expanded its channel program to the EMEA market. The Itron Engage Sales Channel Partner Program offers online training through Itron University.
Partner roster updates
- KnowledgeLake, a content automation solutions provider based in St. Louis, entered a strategic technology partnership with Covenant Technology Partners, an IT consulting firm and Microsoft Gold Partner. The companies will offer a document processing platform.
- Zentae Consulting, an SAP Concur partner with regional offices in Australia and South Africa, selected Codeless Platforms' BPA Platform for integration projects and joined the vendor's partner channel.
- Nubelity, a cloud architecture and transformation specialist based in Austin, Texas, partnered with software vendor DH2i. Nubelity will offer DH2i's DxEnterprise and DxOdyssey software.
- Ujet Inc., a cloud-based contact-center-as-a-service provider based in San Francisco, partnered with MicroCorp, an AppSmart company and national master agent. MicroCorp focuses on telecommunications, data center, security and cloud services.
- Cubic Information Systems, a North African digital transformation services provider, joined HYCU Inc.'s channel program as an Authorized Partner. HYCU provides multi-cloud data management offerings.
- A transaction valued at $7.2 billion will combine distributors Synnex Corp. and Tech Data. The companies revealed a merger agreement on March 22. The deal, expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2021, would create a $57 billion company.
- Entrust, an identity, payments and data protection company based in Minneapolis, signed a master distributor pact with Synnex. The distributor will offer Entrust nShield hardware security modules and cybersecurity offerings to North American customers.
- Also in distribution news, Ingram Micro Inc. said it is providing compute- and storage-as-service offerings from Veeam and Zadara.
- Cymulate, a breach and attack simulation platform provider based in Israel, entered a distribution relationship with NTT Advanced Technology, a subsidiary of NTT.
- Trustifi, an email security company based in Las Vegas, appointed Peter Eastman as chief revenue officer.
- Observe.ai, a San Francisco-based AI contact center software startup, named Jon Heaps as its vice president of channel.
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