CPG Supply Chains are adapting to disruption, new research finds

0Online shopping, new digital technologies, and increasing channel fragmentation are intensifying the pressures on US consumer packaged goods (CPG) supply chains.

There are clear steps CPG companies must take in order to prepare, according to a new report authored by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

The report, ‘How CPG Supply Chains Are Preparing for Seismic Change’, highlights the top trends affecting CPG supply chains and the effect on CPG companies’ performance.

Among the issues addressed in the report: e-commerce sales growth, service-level performance, channel proliferation, network design, and cash management trends.

The report is based on the 2017 Supply Chain Benchmarking Study, a study of the US units of more than 30 leading CPG companies conducted jointly by BCG and GMA.

“It’s been a turbulent couple of years for the grocery industry, with major disruption and dislocation in the retail landscape,” commented Daniel Triot, senior director of the Trading Partner Alliance of GMA and the Food Marketing Institute.

“Despite the important performance gains in the supply chain in the past two years, CPG companies cannot be complacent. This report aims to provide guidance for CPG companies looking to harness new digital technologies and trends to support continued growth.”

Over the next two years, half the growth in North American grocery sales will come from e-commerce. But only 6% of CPG companies have a dedicated e-commerce supply chain team, and only 3% are able to fully track sales by channel.

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Supply Chains in Advanced Markets Should Become More Agile, Says Atradius

Atradius, a consultancy specializing in trade credit insurance, surety and debt collections, maintains that the global economy has continued to gain momentum over the past months, with a 3.1% expansion projected for this year.

Higher inflation, falling unemployment, and strengthening Purchasing Manager Indices (PMIs) all suggest higher GDP growth in advanced markets.

Atradius analysts observe that the U.S. economy leads this trend while the recovery in the eurozone becomes increasingly entrenched. The outlook for emerging markets is also brighter, as Brazil and Russia are emerging from recession, and access to finance remains favorable. While the global economic outlook is more robust than in previous years, political uncertainty remains a downside risk to stability.

However, the main challenges to the global outlook – the threat of deflation, negative bond yields, austerity, and low commodity prices – are slowly phasing out.

Global trade is supporting this recovery. After a 1.3% expansion in 2016, trade growth (12-month rolling average, y-o-y) has picked up to 3.3% as of July 2017. The stronger-than-expected expansion is being driven by intra-regional trade flows in Asia and strong import demand from North America.

Despite political uncertainty, most high-frequency indicators point to sustained growth: the global composite PMI posted held steady at 54 in September, pointing to a solid and stable rate of expansion. This has motivated some dramatic upward revisions of trade growth forecasts in 2017. The WTO raised its 2017 forecast for merchandise trade growth to 3.6% from 2.4%.

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Instagram and Pinterest are killing Gap, Abercrombie, & J. Crew

Traditional mall retailers like Gap, J. Crew, and Abercrombie & Fitch have faced declining sales in recent years.

And the problem might be signaling something even more troublesome than dowdy apparel. Instead, it is a total shift in how teen consumers think.

Young people want to purchase experiences rather than actual stuff, and when they do buy clothing or shoes they want to be able to showcase purchases on social media.

“Their entire life, if it’s not shareable, it didn’t happen,” Marcie Merriman, Generation Z expert and executive director of growth strategy and retail innovation at Ernst & Young, said to Business of Fashion. “Experiences define them much more than the products that they buy.”

The only apparel young people want is clothing that can translate into an experience on Instagram or Snapchat.

Given their limited budgets and frugal tendencies, they’re more likely to purchase lots of clothes at fast fashion retailers, like cutting-edge Zara or cheap Forever 21, so that they have ample images to share.

Read more at Instagram and Pinterest are killing Gap, Abercrombie, & J. Crew

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