Consumer goods supply chains are in urgent need of more AI and Robotics automation. Many remain stuck in traditional linear models – producing standardised products from bulk materials in large centralised factories to maximise economies of scale. The end user has little or no interaction with any part of the supply chain until the product arrives in stores.

But the world has changed. Modern consumers now have access to far greater choice of products, price and ways to purchase and personalise, and their expectations are being set by the very best performers in the market. This is forcing a shift towards more circular, consumer-driven supply networks, with the end user at the heart of a complex system of competing manufacturers, suppliers and retailers.

To compete, supply chains must now be able to deliver more accurate planning and synchronisation, faster multichannel retail responsiveness and, increasingly, mass product customisation. Achieving this is not simple, and goes far beyond the abilities of many traditional workforces and infrastructures.

AI and Robotics automation has the potential to overcome these challenges and revolutionise end-to-end supply chains. A whole new world of automation opportunities is opening up, that can significantly cut costs while increasing speed to market, flexibility, productivity and business growth. Their widespread application is an inevitable evolution that consumer goods manufacturers and retailers can’t ignore.

In PA’s new paper AI and Robotics automation in consumer-driven supply chains, created with The Consumer Goods Forum as part of their End-to-End Value Chain Learning Series, we explain the various technologies, explore how organisations are already using them, and show more potential applications. We look at the consumer trends driving these changes, what this means for supply chains, and how this will impact the workforce.

We propose five key objectives for implementing AI and Robotics automation successfully:

  • tailor and constantly evolve your strategy
  • align your strategy to the business ecosystem
  • adapt your workforce to collaborate with, not compete against, machines
  • implement changes in an agile way
  • protect your organisation against the risk of cyber-attacks.

For organisations willing to embrace the inevitable, AI and Robotics automation presents a major source of competitive advantage. Now is the time to explore how your organisation could benefit; the only way to learn how it best fits your goals, culture and strategy is to start experimenting.

Find out more about PA and our work at

Syed Hassan
Supply Chain Automation Specialist
PA Consulting Group

JJ Van Der Meer
Supply Chain and Procurement Lead
PA Consulting Group