Published on April 9, 2021. View original article on Premium Beauty News.
The cosmetics industry like many other industries has been hit by the pandemic, and is at a turning point in its history. To recover from the crisis and learn the lesson, France’s second-largest export sector must not only innovate, but also promote increased cooperation and collaboration between all actors and suppliers in the cosmetics ecosystem. There is an urgent need to modernise practices and adapt to the future’s most important challenges, which requires extended transparency for consumers and digitalization of collaboration tools. What levers will facilitate the recovery of the industry? How can the sector be strengthened to meet the challenges and fight the current context?
In a highly competitive and ever-changing environment, it is essential to promote cooperation between the various actors at several levels. First there is a need to remedy the lack of recognition. Second, small businesses must be consolidated and have the opportunity to establish themselves in the long term. Finally, the entire ecosystem must be equipped with the digital tools to increase efficiency, and be able to keep pace with consumer expectations, particularly sustainability and transparency of products. In a cosmetics industry that has been badly hit by the crisis for over a year, these three issues - cooperation, consolidation and digitalization - are now on the agenda more than ever.
Establishing increased relationships between the brands and the external suppliers is essential to identify and implement best practices. Relationships between suppliers and the cosmetic brands must be more formal and collaborative. Suppliers are required to develop products of impeccable quality from perfectly mastered procurement processes: teamwork is crucial here to avoid issues and shorten production times.
Cosmetic brands will need to pull out best practices from other areas to improve lead times, quality and innovation processes.
One of the main obstacles to the digitalization of the cosmetics industry is currently a form of fear of the unknown and ignorance of the capacity of the cloud, data storage and the automation of processes. In the meantime, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation and stressed the importance of facilitating the exchange of information. Cosmetics companies have rapidly introduced the digital tools for their general functioning, but efforts still need to be made, particularly with regards to the digitisation of regulatory, testing and packaging processes.
In Quality the benefits of digitization are considerable. By involving all stakeholders in the production process, information is centralized, which enables projects to be more visible and fluid. Decision-makers at their respective levels are better informed and decisions taken faster, thus reducing delays and avoiding additional costs. Ultimately, every profession in the industry is an actor and a quality manufacturer: a necessity at a time when consumer expectations are becoming increasingly demanding.
Consumers’ expectations are changing fast, and their brand loyalty has become more demanding, especially in terms of sustainable development and ethics. To this end, non-quality is one of the environmental concerns that the cosmetics industry must address. The development of a quality product requires attaching more importance to this environmental issue, in addition to reducing costs and deadlines. The French cosmetics industry already mastered a number of issues, such as recycled packaging - being developed in a pure and uncompetitive research framework.
Operators are aware of the challenges ahead to adapt their product offering to these increasing demands. While regulations are more complex than ever before, the adjustment of speed is a powerful lever to remain competitive and avoid unsustainable market deadlines.
To remove the obstacles to cooperation and make a necessary collective effort in times of crisis, the cosmetics industry must respond collectively to the challenges of digitization and sustainable development with an imperative to improve production processes and the quality of finished products.