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Monday February 6th, 2023
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L'Occitane accelerates its digital transformation in the packaging sector thanks to Veeva

Veeva, a specialist in quality and regulatory affairs for industry players, has been approached by L'Occitane, a family-owned international outreach group that manufactures and markets cosmetics and wellness products based on natural ingredients. The stated objective is to accelerate the analysis of key issues such as the disposal of plastic, the recycling of packaging or new uses for cosmetics.

It is no secret that the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 has turned the tables on many industries. As far as the cosmetics sector is concerned, health concerns have seen the trend towards healthy, but also ethics, organics and transparency - already in vogue before - skyrocketing. So many values that L'Occitane carries in Provence.

"L'Occitane is more than ever a committed brand," said David Bayard, the group's director of packaging technical development. Our first stores were already equipped with deposit systems to collect glass packaging. Our commitment to protecting nature and reducing the environmental footprint is natural... »

A committed group

The L'Occitane Group is one of the world leaders in the cosmetics market based on natural and organic ingredients. It stands out for the diversity and abundance of its offer, and operates under six different brands, including the historic one of L'Occitane in Provence, but also Melvita, Erborian, L'Occitane in Brazil, LimeLife and Elemis. The group now has more than 3,400 outlets, including more than 1,600 stores of its own.

Since 1997, the group has expanded its territorial roots to 90 countries, relying on biosystems — virtuous ecosystems, both natural and human. L'Occitane is a pioneer of the "multi-local": this approach, nourished by an entrepreneurial spirit, is highly creative of economic, environmental and societal value for all the territories where the group is invested.

"In the face of new societal challenges, including the notion of sustainable development that has become increasingly important in recent years, we have been able to be bold and evolve our strategy while remaining in line with our fundamental principles," explains Bayard. We have made some drastic commitments to reduce our footprint, such as to completely remove unrecycled plastic from our packaging, and to produce them exclusively from recycled materials by 2025. We are also committed to giving a second life to all components that are not locally recyclable. This has been a real focus for us over the past three years. »

A signatory to the Ellen McArthur Foundation for the circular economy, like many leading companies in all sectors, the group's initiatives in this direction are systematically made public. Some of these, such as the recent release of the first recycled aluminium tube, or the generalization of the eco-recharge system, have contributed to a positive change in the environmental impact of L'Occitane.

Time trial and regulatory obstacle race

"But these initiatives are a setback," says Bayard. There are many constraints, particularly regulatory constraints. The development of new products, such as the shampoos and solid shampoos that we will be releasing soon, or new distribution methods such as filling toilet water bottles in-store, creates various complications, for example related to bacteria. Our fundamental mission as a producer is to ensure zero risk to consumer health. No actor can afford to deal with this issue of compliance. »

A real marathon for the one who is in charge of the continuous optimization of packaging at L'Occitane. "We have to move a lot of things. When we release a new recycled aluminium packaging, to use this example, since we are always looking to register on a sustainable transformation project and a long-term vision, we need to apply this novelty to all of our ranges, all over the world and taking into account pre-existing stocks. It takes a lot of time. »

An exponential mosaic of indicators

In order to control its progress, the manoeuvring teams within the group must handle a very large amount of data. What percentage of such material leaves where, what is the rate of waste for a particular product, etc.; the indicators necessary for the transformation of the company have multiplied as it evolves, making their management extremely complicated. Thus, a need for centralization and control of this data has become an imperative.

"In our quest for precision and speed of access to information, we have been looking for a publisher who can help us get more rigorous and work on the data more easily," says Bayard.

Objective: rapid implementation to meet the brand's commitments

April 2019. In search of a tool that is easy to use for teams and can be made operational quickly to meet its commitments, L'Occitane contacts several publishers. It was at this time that Veeva, a global specialist in the modernization of production processes - quality, regulation, marketing - for industry players, and its RegulatoryOne solution came into play.

"We were already working with Veeva to improve our performance in ensuring the quality of our products, but Veeva's employees were not necessarily meant to take over the regulatory aspect of our business," says Bayard. What made the difference was Veeva's ability to better understand our needs beforehand and adapt their solution. A full-scale test phase, or POC, quickly confirmed to us that they were able to respond and make us more agile. »

Change in dimension but a sustainable course maintained

Now, L'Occitane teams are able to evaluate their results much better than before. "Where it took us four full weeks to observe the behaviours of about ten indicators, we are now more than fifty evaluated in just two days! This has allowed us to move from an annual monitoring rate to a quarterly pace, in addition to refining data and multiplying these indicators,says David Bayard, whose initiative was voted the group's major project in 2020. As the validation circuits are better and better controlled, it is the control of our production as a whole that is facilitated and fluidized. In a word: accelerated. The initial objectives were therefore largely achieved. »

In total, nearly 70 internal users of the company benefit from Veeva's solution for their day-to-day activities. The L'Occitane brand in Provence is, at this time, the only one concerned, but demonstrations are taking place in several other entities that should follow suit.

"In addition, there is talk of opening RegulatoryOne access to suppliers, so that they can enter their data directly into the system. This digital collaboration on all data and documents will bring more legibility, information security and time savings for all; the customer/supplier relationship will grow, bayard concludes. This will allow us to be even more agile. A dozen suppliers are expected to be added to the process in the first quarter of this year. »

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