Availability of Goods 2.0: Scenarios for the Future of the Consumer Goods Industry 203027.10.10
The study, which SMI conducted together with Procter & Gamble, maps the recent landslide in the consumer goods industry: Until recently, the “best detergent” was the one with the best image, the best cleansing action and the best value for the money. These factors are still significant. However, since consumption is booming, a new aspect has emerged: Consumers are not willing to drive to Edeka or REWE a second time to buy their favourite detergent because it was out-of-stock the first time around.
Although the official presentation will take place at the beginning of 2011, the preliminary results indicate, what applies to boxers also applies to consumers: They never come back. The availability of goods – not only on the supermarket shelf – has become one of the main purchasing criteria in order to maintain customer loyalty.
The Center for Futures Studies and Knowledge Management at the Supply Chain Management Institute (SMI) of the EBS Business School surveyed a total of 82 experts from consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, research institutes, logistics service providers, IT companies, consulting firms, government agents and organisations over the past months. In analysing the collected data, researchers determined not only the most relevant issues in the consumer goods industry, they also identified the silver bullet to customer loyalty. It’s called: cooperation.
It doesn’t matter if a certain brand is the most popular in the world – if a logistician cannot send out a transport vehicle an hour before a supermarket shelf unexpectedly threatens to go out-of-stock, then even billion dollar marketing fails at the point of sale. In order to counteract this outage, the study asks for all three supply chain partners to sit down at the drawing table of cooperation: brand-name manufacturers, retailers – which already collaborate to a certain extent – and also logistics service providers. In the consumer world of tomorrow, everything will still revolve around brands. However, the consumer world is shifting from brand excellence to brand-led supply chain excellence, and not just within the retail industry.
The customer can already order a bathing suit while sitting at the pool with his or her smart phone – but where is the package received? In the era of e-commerce, the success of brands no longer depends on the brand, but more often on the supply chain: Does it reach every buyer anywhere, punctually, and cost efficiently? Against the background of such buying sprees, the old term “availability of goods” takes on a different meaning. The study makes a cataclysmic deduction: Strategy and training are no longer the responsibility of the brand manufacturer in the future.
Strategy and training collaboration
In the consumer world of tomorrow, brand-name companies are no longer solely responsible for strategy – retailers and logistics service providers are as well. The brand of the future is only successful if all three partners strategically cooperate – and train. Those companies, which jointly follow a strategy, should also train their employees together. Procter & Gamble has already started implementing this main theme of the study in the form of a Supply Chain Academy. A physical and virtual place, where brand-name manufacturers, retailers and logistics service providers can jointly train. The training revolution of all time and a prerequisite for the success of brands and markets of the future.
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