With the reopening of the global economy after the pandemic, companies and consumers are slowly starting to explore this unprecedented landscape and navigate their way towards a semblance of a normal life. A key part of that transition is the exploration of pathways across commerce behaviors and pathways. This anticipation of reverting to the normal is an opportunity for consumer companies to reframe their services and tailor their offerings based on rapidly-changing consumer demands. Despite the challenges being faced by the industry, the opportunity currently present in the market has a much bigger chunk than in the past.
On the other side of the pandemic, DIF anticipates a clear segmentation between companies that take preemptive decisions and laggards that fall short of optimizing their strategic directives in today’s landscape. It is essential for companies to devise pathways to address imminent and long-term solutions to customer requirements.
Navigating the Gap Between Supply and Demand
Covid 19 resulted in the creation of a massive supply chain disruption around the world. As the economy reopens and consumer demand picks up, companies are still struggling to explore the navigate their way through the existing supply chain challenges. A key element that is adding to the difficulty is the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. While some areas are experiencing a complete slump in sales, others are witnessing unprecedented demand.
The increase in virtual shopping has created new consumer segments as customers shift online to continue with their purchase requirements. This has resulted in a challenging landscape for consumer goods companies to manage their infrastructure and retail relationships.
Even though it has been a year since the original disruption, the impact of the supply chain gap is still being actively felt in key economies. In North America, most retailers are struggling to replenish depleting inventories to keep up with consumer demand. The global shipping infrastructure is also extensively burdened with the surge of commercial activity. Due to elevated traffic levels, multiple blockages across key shipping routes have further worsened the shipping landscape.
Covid 19 has also significantly impacted the human resources available to deal with the cargo handling from commercial ships. Combined with significant changes in consumer behavior, the global supply chain infrastructure is exhibiting extensive signs of stress. Consumer goods companies need to evaluate their supply chains and optimize by exploring the following aspects.
- Advanced product flow coordination using digital tools to shift to efficient management structures with minimal disruptions. The application of these platforms can also help companies decrease freight costs and premiums.
- New tool creation to manage inbound transportation requirements within critical trade segments.
- Risk contingency management by expanding supplier concentration to widen coverage areas.
Even though the pandemic has added a significant toll to the global consumer goods segment, it is just another step in a series of disruptive events in the industry. The growth of digital tools and the subsequent increase in digital adoption has created an entirely new landscape for players within the industry. The pandemic will not be the conclusive step to the consumer goods segment. To realize optimal growth prospects, the industry needs to work on resilient supply chains with inherent contingency management. Companies that fail to implement digital tools to track operations will struggle to cater to challenging scenarios and inevitably lag behind in the competitive market.
Managing Short-term Inflation Concerns
Even though stimulus packages were essential to maintain economic stability during the pandemic, economies are now going through significant inflation pressures stemming from governmental policies and elevated demands. Companies need to refer to digital tools to explore viable solutions to the inflation landscape. In the current market scenario, the shortage of shipping avenues and existing demand is likely to add further cost pressures to a competitive market.
Most consumer goods companies are currently accustomed to extended periods of low inflation. It is essential for these companies to develop mitigation strategies to sustain their margins during the incoming inflation landscape. Companies can do that by referring to the following strategies.
- Hedging Commodity Prices – Hedging instruments are a great way to manage finances and decrease acting risk in commodities. Companies need to shift to transparent hedging practices that are aligned with their financial standing to navigate their way through high inflation.
- Procurement Procedural Review – Established comprehensive supplier contracts to include penalties and incentives for price continuity and availability can be great ways to retain value and prevent inflation from impacting business growth.
Even though the extent of incoming inflation is largely dependent on governmental policies and consumer behaviors, it is essential for consumer goods companies to reoptimize their strategies to be ideally prepared for all scenarios.
Shifting to Modern Logistics
Moving forward, companies need to look towards automation and end-to-end planning. Customers are increasingly demanding companies be transparent about their availability and delivery structures. Consumer goods companies can respond by adopting agile operational structures centered on robust policy decisions. Companies can navigate this landscape by implementing workforce expansion, overtime allocation, and faster shipments to modernize their current logistic infrastructure.
Companies need to consider the financial elements of the transition and explore an accelerated shift to maintain a competitive edge and provide a seamless logistics experience to eCommerce customers that are becoming exposed to a fast-paced market. Analytics and data-driven policies are central to long-lasting success in the industry segment.
Covid 19 has massively impacted the global hospitality landscape by introducing newer variables in the forecasting equation. As the recovery from Covid takes shape, hospitality stakeholders must take an individual approach for each property to have effective insight into the industry’s landscape.
As consumer goods companies make an effort to restructure their business to cater to post-pandemic trends, DIF recommends expanding digital acceleration and focusing on agility. The current landscape offers the perfect opportunity for companies to develop their value propositions and gain a competitive advance in the eCommerce segment by focusing on streamlined logistic experiences.