October 29th, 2020Review the Insights
The October 29th 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 "How does the supply chain need to evolve in order to meet customer expectations, both current and future?"
Four key themes emerged: transparency, resiliency and flexibility, social media, and digital transformation.
Supply chains have been subjected to extreme shifts in demand due to fear caused by the pandemic. A lack of transparency and visibility into the supply chain has eroded trust with customers and caused many to hoard products, further fueling an unnatural shift in demand. To that end, companies have begun to focus more on customer loyalty to prevent further supply chain breakdown. “Transparency is the fear killer” and only through clear communication and real-time visibility can future hoarding events hope to be curtailed.
Resiliency and Flexibility
Highly adaptive supply and demand matching is necessary to provide real-time insights, to create a more flexible supply chain. Solutions to achieve resilience and flexibility include SKU rationalization, supplier diversification, and automation. Speed of innovation has been an operative part of resilience, with the breakdown of “walled garden” decision making and accelerated timeline of business and technology evolutions from “5 years into 8 weeks”.
Often, customers have received their pandemic news and information directly from social media, with both negative and positive effects. On the negative side, social media exacerbated the fear of product scarcity that led to increased hoarding activity, shifting demand, and caused the very shortages that they warned against. On the positive side, companies were able to provide product tracking, health rules, and real-time store information to customers to increase trust and promote a sense of safety.
The switch to online eCommerce has been difficult for many companies, and therefore their customers. Product substitutions, shortages, and lack of inventory visibility has caused customer dissatisfaction. Automation, robotics, and micro-fulfillment have been leveraged to transition towards more digital solutions. Overall, the “pandemic has been an accelerated Darwinian event” that has differentiated between those companies that could manage a successful digital transformation and those that could not.
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: “How does the supply chain need to evolve in order to meet customer expectations, both current and future?”