You know Procter & Gamble as “the Only True Dividend King.” Dividends may not conjure up images of tech savvy or state-of-the-art innovation, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at P&G. The company uses technology to stay ahead of the competition. Some it buys, and some it develops on its own. Reuters explains the company’s tech leadership, writing:
CINCINNATI/TABLERS STATION, W.V., July 19 (Reuters) – Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) may be best known for laundry detergent and toothpaste, but its secret sauce is arguably figuring out how to do things like get two red bottles of Olay skin lotion into blister packs as cheaply and accurately as possible.
That task is currently done by hand at its factories.
But at one of the conglomerate’s secretive robotics labs on the outskirts of Cincinnati, researchers have programmed a robot to do the job.
It’s a surprisingly tricky maneuver for a machine. The robot arm plucks two bottles at a time from a box and lays them into the dimples with the labels facing forward so they’re visible when the package is sealed.
“That’s the key – getting the labels exactly oriented,” said Mark Lewandowski, director of robotics innovation at P&G’s global engineering center, pointing to the test line he’s set up inside the facility. “We’ll be rolling this out in the next month or two” to P&G’s factories, he said.
Many companies make consumer goods. Yet it’s ones who can make them the most eye-catching for consumers, and do it as cheaply as possible, that do best.
In that regard, P&G is a model and its use of high-speed automation and robots is a key to its success. P&G is the world’s largest consumer-goods maker and dominates many of its businesses. For example, analysts estimate its Bounty brand accounts for 40% of all paper towels sold in the United States. Investors appreciate its steady profits and dividends. The company has raised its dividend 65 years in a row.
To be sure, P&G is mainly known as a branding expert, not a designer of factory machines. But developing key pieces of its own automation has helped it compete in businesses where shaving fractions of a penny off the cost of making each Pampers diaper and Gillette razor blade is essential.
Read more here.