This year continues to present as many challenges as last with the continued lockdown and still some uncertainly as to when it will end. However, we must look to a future before the end of this year when lockdown will have ended and business will begin to look more like it used to.
I say more like it used to, but the reality is that business will have changed forever, more so in some industries than others, with businesses that can adapt to those changes being the ones that will prosper the most post lockdown.
The Food and Fresh Produce Wholesale sector has weathered the lockdowns over the past 12 months better than most, but as we move into a post lockdown environment it’s important to ensure all growth is sustainable in the longer term.
Based upon our extensive experience of delivering supply chain automation solutions globally into the Food and Fresh Produce Wholesale sector we are releasing a series of blogs examining how automation can support sustainable growth built upon the two pillars of profitability and service excellence.
One of the undisputable changes has been the acceleration of digital transformation. According to many sources organisations have accelerated their supply chain digital transformation by at least two and potentially as much as four years. For example, take a look at this new McKinsey Global Survey into the impact of COVID-19 on the adoption of digital technologies into supply chains.
With a focus on post lockdown growth, Food and Fresh Produce Wholesalers will need to take full advantage of accelerated digital transformation to ensure they are not left behind.
In this series of blogs, I’ll be exploring sustainable growth in terms of the acceleration of supply chain digital transformation and how digitisation and automation can make positive contributions towards profitability and service excellence.
More importantly, I will be looking at the dangers of not acting now and the cost of being left behind. Doing nothing is not an option, action is essential to deliver sustainable growth in a post-lockdown world.
Blog 1 – The Transactional Finance Manager
In the first blog I’ll explore the role of the Transactional Finance Manager. Although this role is not new, Food and Fresh Produce Wholesalers are increasingly turning to their Transactional Finance Managers to take a lead role in the digital transformation of their supply chains and reaping significant benefits by doing so.
It highlights how, by taking a holistic view of AP and AR, the Transactional Finance Manager can impact supply chain performance, the new KPIs necessary to measure their impact by and how they can lead sustainable growth through transformational change.
If you are a Food and Fresh Produce Wholesaler without a Transactional Finance Manager you should consider introducing this role, if you do have one you should review their remit to maximise the benefits they deliver. The next blog delves deeper into why.
Blog 2 – How to be a Better Customer and a Better Supplier
One of the key aspects of Food and Fresh Produce Wholesale is that products are purchased to be sold. Wholesale customers can typically buy the exact same product from multiple sources. Therefore, it is critical to manage the complete supply chain as a single entity from sourcing from a supplier to the sale of that product to a customer.
This is why the Transactional Finance Manager role has a bigger part to play in a wholesale business. Customer retention is key to delivering sustainable growth and retention depends upon customer service excellence. But don’t forget that supplier service excellence is equally important to ensure products are available to sell.
In this blog I provide examples of how, through supply chain automation and digitization, a wholesale business can be a better customer to its suppliers and a better supplier to its customers. These are the actions that you need to be taking now to be ready for a post-lockdown environment.
Blog 3 – Best-Practice Automation and Best-Practice KPIs
Did you have a 5-year plan for your supply chain or customer digital transformation prior to 2020? If you did what steps have you taken to accelerate its deployment? With all the research pointing to digitisation and automation plans being accelerated by as much as four years, your 5-year plan should be looking very different now.
Best-practice processes are well understood, but one of the common mistakes is to focus automation efforts on the wrong parts of the process, and more often than not this is driven by putting the wrong KPIs in place to begin with.
In this final blog, I examine the dos and don’ts when it comes to automation and measurement of supply chain digital transformation. Sharing some of the knowledge and experiences we’ve gained over the past 12 months in particular I will highlight how you can accelerate returns and not get left behind.
Lockdown will end, the economy will pick up and you must be ready for when that happens. Maintaining the status quo is not a viable way forward to deliver sustainable growth, we are already past the time when action should have been taken.
I hope you will find this series of blogs useful input to your business strategy as a wholesaler or distributor. I am very interested to know what you think, if you don’t want to wait for them all to be published and want to act now, feel free to get in touch.