As we quickly approach the summer season, our retail and consumer goods clients are increasingly becoming more optimistic about their prospects for a successful 2021. With many parts of the country progressing in getting the COVID pandemic under control and as personal freedoms return, we are joyfully witnessing the return of businesses, as well as growth in our local and nationwide economies. Here’s a glimpse of ways we’ve seen many companies get through the worst of last year and how they’re driving to success in 2021.

Remarkable Resiliency

Throughout the tumultuous nature of the past year, resilience again proves to be a key characteristic that helps us navigate the tough times and makes us stronger. Of particular note, when most fashion retailers and soft goods brands were temporarily shuttered at the onset of the pandemic, their collective outlook was indeed quite gloomy as retail shifted to almost all “essential.” During that timeframe, uncertainty abounded. But even more so, the resilient nature of the fashion and soft goods segments was distinctly remarkable. We are grateful to see a decided uptick in our clients’ business performance, and along with this, the restarts of strategic initiatives that were paused last spring.

Defeating Challenges

However, this optimism and the desire to grow market share must be tempered with effectively handling real challenges with which you and many other companies are likely grappling. These challenges include the continuation of highly variable demand for products, supply chain disarray, and overall prioritization of key projects that were in-flight or planned pre-COVID. Let’s highlight some examples.

  • We are currently using our advanced analytics Demand Intelligence platform to help a high-end grocery chain more accurately predict demand where states and localities are opening back up. Combining the company’s historical sales with competitor information and other macroeconomic data, this intelligence also considers grocery shopper behavior impacts of more restaurants opening and/or increasing capacity.
  • We are working with a $9 billion spirits maker to dramatically improve their demand forecasting by identifying outliers versus true changes in demand signals. We are also helping them understand the impact of disruptions like the pandemic on their sales history and using artificial intelligence to incorporate these factors into the company’s forecasts. These intelligence-driven improvements are substantial, as every point in forecasting accuracy results in ten of millions of bottom-line financial impacts.
  • We are helping a long-standing, consumer goods client address supply chain capability deficiencies across planning, order management, and warehouse management disciplines. This company, like many, is experiencing key raw material constraints and capacity limitations that challenge their ability to manage geographically dispersed production to meet customer order demands. This project involves assisting the company in determining key system capabilities to address these and future issues, as well as assessing and selecting a new suite of supply chain solutions. This effort will likely be followed by the establishment of best-in-class business processes in advance of implementing the new solutions to help the organization be more agile and nimble when future supply chain disruptions present themselves.
  • We helped a $1.2 billion, fast-growing big box specialty retailer develop a comprehensive roadmap to prioritize and pace their in-flight and planned initiatives. This project ensures the company appropriately balances their resources to successfully complete these strategic projects.

Sustainable Change

In all of these projects, we’ve infused appropriate elements of our change management methodology to ensure adoption and sustainment of new ways of operating and the capabilities of supporting technologies.  We firmly believe that equipping our clients with tools to effectively manage ongoing changes in their business serves to not only improve project success, but also bolsters their resiliency to handle future disruptions.

Looking ahead, we are gratefully optimistic about a brighter 2021 outlook overall.  We are also thankful that our clients are realizing success in the wake of a very challenging year, and that The Parker Avery Group is part of their journey.

If you have any questions about how to better manage your demand, supply chain, operations, or information flow, or if you need assistance in prioritizing multiple strategic initiatives across various functions, we would be pleased to start a conversation.

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