I was recently involved in an interesting conversation with my colleagues regarding why we do what we do. This dialog was inspired by Simon Sinek’s book and Ted Talk on the same subject: before the what and the how, we must understand the “why.”

Over the last 25 years, I have worked with dozens of large retailers and consumer goods companies, across many functional areas. There was a range of challenges addressed, but for me, they all had a common theme: The comprehensive understanding of consumer demand and its drivers.

That is my why.

Retail Realities: Navigating Through Madness

Regardless of the functional area, retailers and CPG companies are fundamentally driven by an overarching objective: to understand and fulfill consumer demand for their products. The strategies and tactics taken to achieve this objective may be different, and of course, there are important ancillary goals such as bottom-line profitability and shareholder value improvement targets. However, none of those can be optimally achieved without first deeply understanding consumer demand. This singular view must be the north star that guides all actions of a retailer or CPG company.

When understood and embraced by the organization, this common view and intense focus on understanding and fulfilling consumer demand drives planning, merchandising, pricing, inventory, supply chain, and store operations decisions across the entire organization.

What seems like an obvious concept manifests itself as dozens of disparate projections in many organizations. Most companies plan to one demand signal, manage pricing to another, fulfill to a third, operate to a fourth, and so on. These discrepancies lead to misalignment on goals, business process inefficiencies across the organization, the inability to fulfill consumer demand effectively, and poor customer experience.

An additional consideration is the impact of inventory decisions on environmental sustainability. Disparate projections of demand lead to substantial amounts of waste, particularly in grocery and fashion retail. Further, too much or too little inventory limits a company’s ability to be financially resilient, impacting its ability to quickly adjust and adapt to risks and opportunities.

Comprehensively understanding consumer demand across your organization’s channels and functional areas is the key to surviving in the ever-changing retail landscape. It allows your organization to be nimbler and more resilient as you respond to global crises, macro-economic changes, and a fierce competitor landscape. The solution is not found in a system alone but combined with business process adoption and sustainment as key factors in realizing the full benefits.

Indeed, my personal why is focused on helping retail and CPG companies predict and understand consumer demand. My why enables The Parker Avery Group’s keen focus on gaining alignment and implementing sustainable business processes and organizational improvements to drive meaningful business results for our clients.

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Sam Iosevich, Chief Analytics Officer and Managing Partner

Sam Iosevich
Chief Analytics Officer and Managing Partner