FMCG stands for Fast Moving Consumer Goods. This sector incorporates all the household products that we use every day and includes some of the biggest brand names in the world. This multi-billion pound industry is described as ‘fast moving’ as these are the products which fly off the shelf quickest.
Look around you whilst you read this. The device you are reading on, the coffee you are drinking, the pen in front of you, the deodorant and soap you used this morning; these are all examples of products that belong to the FMCG sector.
Why Work In The FMCG Sector?
As the name suggests this is a fast paced environment where no two days are the same. People in FMCG will work in teams to ensure that products are constantly in stock for and that the supply chain is delivering on time. There are responsibilities to identify any changes in consumer buying trends, launch new products to the market and make sure that pricing strategies are correct for high volume turnover products. With some of the biggest names in industry there are opportunities to work all over the world and prospects in the sector are endless.
FMCG covers a huge range of products, crosses many industries and includes a wide range of operations. Before developing your career in it, it is worth having some idea of what these different areas are.
When most people think brand they think marketing and indeed marketing is a large part of it, however, the brand has an impact along all stages of the supply chain and getting the brand values right is key.
One aspect of brand is design. At the start, this means coming up with a concept for a new product and then designing how it will look, feel and appear to the end user. A brand may be formed to meet the changing needs of the consumer or perhaps due to cultural differences between market places. Much of what goes in to the brand comes from market research.
Brand also includes buying. A Retail buyer will need to understand a variety of brands, know what their own customers expect and which brands can deliver this. From the brand point of view these factors should be taken into consideration.
When it comes to designing your brand it should be done with sales in mind. How will your product or packaging appear on the shelf? It should be user friendly and designed in such a way that consumers will be happy to engage with it.
Food is unique within the FMCG marketplace and some of the biggest brands we know belong to the sector. HJ Heinz, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Nestle are just some of the biggest names in the FMCG food sector.
If you are considering a career in FMCG foods there may be several options to choose from. Once again market research is important to understand the demand of foods in different locations and how this may affect pricing and stock management.
Sustainability, environmental awareness and economic viability are important functions of the food sector so there are many careers available for innovative minds. Whether this is designing the next range of techniques to produce sustainable products or reducing the negative environmental impact of packaging there are opportunities available. Furthermore when it comes to packaging, food is a sector where the principles of design are key to ensuring sales remain high.
The supply chain is one of the most important functions of the whole FMCG sector. Ensuring that stock is delivered to the right place at the right time is key.
At the start of this process is the sourcing side. Companies are monitored heavily on their environmental impacts and the way in which they source foods. Fairtrade for example is becoming an expectation rather than a ‘nice to have’.
Production and manufacturing are key to the supply chain. There are a huge amount of opportunities for anyone with a STEM background seeking to get into food manufacture and chemical engineering. Furthermore there are many opportunities to get into roles producing household FMCG goods such as detergents and soaps.
There are opportunities in logistics, sectors such as warehousing and delivery. Once again, the industry is heavily impacted by environmental awareness so companies are always seeking graduates that can help improve efficiency in supply chain whilst driving environmental impacts.
At the sharp end of the FMCG sector is retail, the point at which goods are purchased by the consumer.
There are career opportunities in retail sales such as store managers, department supervisors and cashier roles. Individuals are not just expected to deliver on customer service but ensure the continued smooth operation of stock and general store maintenance.
Merchandising departments will manage stock levels across a network of stores. They will need to monitor sales patterns to keep stores fully stocked.
There are also roles available to manage the maintenance and general housekeeping of stores so that they remain inviting places for consumers to purchase goods. Retailers will often employ teams of maintenance staff, health and safety executives and security to keep customers happy. Store layout specialists and visual merchandisers will be employed to ensure that products in the store are placed in prominent positions to ensure that sales opportunities are maximised.
Finally retail is just not offline anymore. There are also a range of opportunities to work for some of the high profile digital retailers such as Amazon or Ocado. Roles include IT programming and digital marketing.
Working in FMCG
Careers in FMCG are many and varied. One of the best things about FMCG is that anyone can have a successful and wide ranging career. Once on the FMCG career path there really is no limit to how successful you can be.