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Kraft Heinz, manufacturers of Tomato Ketchup and many other staple household products, has announced a partnership with Microsoft to create a metaverse version of its manufacturing facilities.
The company aims to use the simulation to improve its supply chain.
Multinational food producer Kraft Heinz is building its own metaverse, but not the kind that sells virtual real estate or offers dining in virtual restaurants. The multinational producer of iconic products like Lunchables, Velveeta and Kool-Aid is partnering with Microsoft to create a virtual version of its manufacturing facilities in order to solve supply chain bottlenecks.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing people to radically alter their buying habits, Kraft Heinz had to adapt to the changes. For example, when restaurants closed and panic shopping began, the company made quick adjustments to its product mix, increasing production of takeout-size ketchup packets to ease a sudden shortage.
As demand patterns changed in certain locations when increased COVID-19 cases kept children home from school, the company wasn’t prepared to respond quickly, often resulting in empty shelf space and customers buying competing products. According to Kraft Heinz President of North America Carlos Abrams-Rivera, "inventory [was] getting trapped in the system."
Forced to consider innovative ways to make its supply chain more effective, Kraft Heinz decided to experiment with the industrial metaverse,.working with Microsoft to create a “digital twin” version of its manufacturing facilities using the Azure cloud platform. The aim is for the simulation to become an effective model for problem solving by providing management with a clearer view of its manufacturing and supply practices, identifying areas where improvements could be made.
According to Abrams-Rivera, Kraft Heinz doesn't currently have "a system that allows us to map the entire factory to see the best flow." The metaverse will hopefully change that.
Moreover, he explained that sudden demands for products often force employees to focus on time-consuming and stressful tasks that could be automated and streamlined using the metaverse. If successful, the plan could pay off in happier employees as well as increased profitability.
Microsoft Industry Solutions CTO Lorraine Bardeen commented, "We're really committed to supporting our customers in what we call the ‘industrial metaverse.’ This means that Kraft Heinz will be able to put their products into consumers' hands faster."
A recent online article from Heinz Marketing shows that the company already understands the importance of the metaverse for future business-to-business (B2B) communications, providing new opportunities to expand its customer base. These can include virtual industry conferences and events, interaction with customers and their products, immersive training and innovative marketing and advertising strategies.
Metaverse marketing initiatives
Using the industrial metaverse for more efficient operations is a novel concept that’s only beginning to get noticed. However, many companies already see the metaverse as a valuable tool for connecting with their customers.
Last year, PepsiCo Labs, PepsiCo’s technology venture arm, launched three pilot programs with gaming startups GreenPark, Anzu and StreamElements. Coca-Cola has introduced a limited-edition Zero Sugar Byte soda that “tastes the pixels,” available through the video game Fortnite.
In March, McDonald’s Italy supported the local introduction of their Triple Cheeseburger by releasing an NFT series. Meanwhile, the parent company has already trademarked many of its iconic brands for use in the metaverse.
In the near future, the Industrial metaverse will dramatically reduce the effort required to bring teams together to develop better products, delivered to customers more effectively.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.