How to Boost Visibility and Results During Disruption

Near the epi-center of the current health crisis, is our stressed and essential food retail industry.  Today’s irregular demand, inventory disruptions and medical uncertainties present significant, new challenges for CPG brands.  The question is “How are teams harnessing resources to boost visibility and results during this time?”

The Foreseeable Future

Noone knows the timeline, but with the current irregular demand spikes, continued shelf inventory shortfalls and long-term effects of the pandemic being uncertain, the CPG industry has entered into the first of three new business stages:

  • Disruption, 
  • Recovery, and 
  • The “New” Post-pandemic Normal. 

This first phase, “Disruption,” is characterized by simultaneous irregularities in demand, product supply and labor supply.  Food, drug, mass and c-stores (FDMC) channel industry leaders indicate the current demand spikes are being fueled by both: 1) a time forward-shift in “eat at home” demand combined with 2) a transfer-shift from “on-premise” to “eat-at-home” demand. 

Notably, the underlying household consumption (the amount of food and beverage consumed by people) hasn’t changed that much.  Rather, the health issue uncertainty, travel limits and dining-out restrictions are driving current stocking behavior.  

Many brand and retail executives expect the time-shifted demand surge will be followed by a lull in demand, as pantries fill.  Some are calling this aspect an “artificial demand spike.”  

Conversely, the transfer-shifted demand is a “real demand increase” for the foreseeable future across the FDMC channels.  Many expect this shift away from restaurant and commercial food service venues will persist even after social distancing requirements are relaxed, due both to lingering social anxieties and new eating patterns.

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Why does this matter?

These disruptive dynamics are driving simultaneous challenges across product supply and in-store labor.  And, until our nation and communities pass through the initial Disruption Stage and get past the underlying health concerns, we will continue to have irregularity in both product and labor.  

Food and Beverage Leaders are Solving This!

With tremendous effort, and significant new hires, our industry is keeping factories running, distribution lines moving, and shelves stocked.  However, many are hiring on-demand teams, particularly for retail merchandising. This avoids long term headcount decisions in light of uncertain demand shifts.  Sounds good, but …   

Unintended Consequence

These new, often temporary teams, present a new set of challenges for adequate visibility, accountability and institutional memory

As experienced as these “new” merchandisers are, few have the honed, practical knowledge and experience perfected for specific brands’ merchandising successes.    

So, How Can YOU Boost Visibility, Accountability and Results?

The good news is that on-demand merchandising teams and predictive retail execution software companies are coming together to provide seamless solutions and a bridge forward. 

On-demand teams and full-time teams maximize effectiveness when they have fast, easy tools that:

  1. Provide reliable, real-time visibility
  2. Maintain accountability, and
  3. Retain the institutional memory.

Importantly, these will also provide the infrastructure needed to support an orderly and timely transition through the “Recovery Phase” and into the “New Normal Phase.”

How does it look from your perspective?

What advice would you give retailers and brands looking to deploy temporary or on-demand resources during the immediate Disruption Phase, and beyond? 

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Schedule a call to share your guidance and hear how other Beverage Leaders are adjusting their retail strategy with the current market disruptions

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