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August 18, 2020Review the Insights

The August 18th GS1 US Executive Exchange Forum focused on COVID-19 and the challenges, trends, and opportunities facing supply chains. Attendees participated in an anonymous ThoughtExchange to reveal the perspectives, ideas, and sentiments that were most important to the group about the following questions:

"From your experience over the last few months, what are some of the biggest hurdles your company has been encountering in the supply chain?" AND "What does the new level of transparency look like?"

Three key themes emerged: product availability, visibility, and predictive data.

Product Availability

Category spikes reached an all-time high during the pandemic for items such as toilet paper and disinfectants. And while some marketing teams may have found success, supply chain departments struggled to keep up. The problem often seemed to stem from retailers having too many overcommitted suppliers, resulting in a lack of trust that needs to be rebuilt both between retailers and suppliers - and in some cases - between retailers and consumers. There is a real need for inventory and distribution accuracy with the sentiment that retailers must have the right data and infrastructure to plan for the future vs. “planning for today.” Ultimately, retailers are no longer willing to bet on a single source of supply. 


Do we design our supply chains for adaptability or resilience? Organizations are struggling to determine which strategy drives success. Suppliers are over-committing or, on the contrary, stating they simply don’t have enough supply. As a result, retailers have an increased sense of urgency to gain visibility into large volumes of data that represent inventory accurately. For consumers, the future of transparency will include accurate, real-time product availability and delivery times. 

Predictive Data

Big data doesn’t always equal accurate data. Trusted, verified, real time data is critical to building lasting supply chain resilience. Simply put, we cannot risk our predictive models making errors when things are happening outside the bounds of the model. In the pandemic, all sorts of factors negatively impacted the accuracy of outputs from predictability engines - hoarding and irrational behavior, an influx of counterfeit essentials, and bad actors looking to game the system. A new frontier for predictive modeling is essential to analyze and adjust for these more complex factors.

View the ThoughtExchange Data

To view the interactive ThoughtExchange data that contributed to this summary, including anonymous verbatims and themes, please visit the links below:

Click to view ThoughtExchange 1 report: "From your experience over the last the last few months, what are some of the biggest hurdles your company has been encountering in the supply chain?"

Click to view ThoughtExchange 2 report: "What does the new level of transparency look like?"

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