AI Co-Pilots: Why Johnsonville Loves Lucy

Lisa Johnston
Lisa Johnston profile picture

Customer service chatbots are one thing, but wouldn’t every employee love their own research assistant? 

As artificial intelligence adoption grows across the consumer goods industry, natural language and generative AI platforms like ChatGPT have captured widespread attention for both their ease of use and very, very problematic capabilities. Seeking to harness AI’s benefits while avoiding potential privacy and error disasters, some CPGs are partnering to bring an “AI co-pilot” in-house.    

Johnsonville is one such company that’s providing team members with a (more trustworthy) digital assistant to hunt down those missing files and answer those pressing questions without having to hassle their colleagues. It’s partnered with solution provider Lucy for a knowledge assistant platform to more effectively wrangle and access insights across the enterprise. 

“We have a large amount of valuable knowledge across our internal shared drives and our third-party subscriptions, but these systems are vast, organized differently by department and spread out across the organization,” Karen Kraft, associate director of consumer insights and analytics at Johnsonville, tells CGT. 

As a result, employees were spending too much time tracking down the insights they needed, including pulling in other employees for help. In leveraging the Lucy assistant, they can now ask questions and receive responses in real time, as the tech scans the Johnsonville corporate knowledge ecosystem and directs them to the page, slide, or video time stamp they seek. 

Lucy has been integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, Teams, industry information websites, and vendor RSS feeds, and employees can ask questions in a private or group Teams chat, as well as on a dedicated website. 

“From an IT security standpoint, we weren’t comfortable with other technologies that are out there that require significant manual uploading of files, organizing, and data and server cleaning and upkeep,” Kraft says, noting they recently walked away from one such solution. 

Ease of use was also a determining factor: “We knew that we needed to make adoption easy, or employees wouldn’t leverage the platform. The last thing we wanted was a complicated system that folks would be resistant to learning.” 

Having a single access point to information has dramatically improved company processes; what’s more, the connection to RSS feeds means employees receive information the company has yet to download, as well as new content and extra context to their questions. 

Johnsonville, which is privately owned and headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, WI, initially rolled out the tech to the consumer, customer, product insights, brand marketing, innovation, and sales teams. As the company considers further expansion, the benefits are already being experienced cross-functionally. Their traditional SMEs have more time to focus on high-impact projects, and they’ve seen a noticeable rise in more confident and faster decision making and considerable time savings, says Kraft. 

Now, she says, they’ve even been able to enjoy summer vacations with fewer emergency texts of, “Where can I find/would you please send me this information?” 

Learn more how companies are harnessing artificial intelligence to give their sales and marketing teams a competitive advantage at the 2023 Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit!

More Case Studies