Four point plan to boost consumer supply chain

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The Future Value Chain initiative has put forward a four point programme of initiatives to benefit consumers in retail and consumer goods, including

* Optimising a shared supply chain

* Making business more sustainable

* Engaging with technology-enabled consumers

* Serving the health and wellbeing of consumers

The report, “2020 Future Value Chain: Building Strategies for the New Decade” is based on work by 200 executives from international retailers, manufacturers, academics, third-party providers who examined the impact of shifts in society, consumer behaviours, the environment and technology.

It highlighted key trends such as increasing urbanisation, consumer awareness about sustainability and the increased adoption of consumer and business technologies will require new and collaborative distribution models and optimised “smart” supply chains where information as well as assets are shared.

It was also important to make business more sustainable. In 20 years, the world’s population will reach 8.3 billion and this growth will put more pressure on natural resources affecting the cost and availability of ingredients.

“The industry needs to collaborate to address sustainability in future business practices in a trustworthy manner, particularly as sustainability becomes an increasingly important aspect in consumers’ buying decisions.”

The report also found that one of the specific challenges is sustaining a dialogue with consumers through their preferred channels and technologies.

“Consumer buying behaviour has been impacted by the use of the variety of technologies in people’s lives. Companies need to drive greater value by engaging with consumers and maintaining a two-way dialogue to improve responsiveness to their changing needs.”
And the report said the overall increased importance placed on health and wellbeing would bring strong pressure on the industry to find new ways to inform and engage consumers, governments and other stakeholders.

“Achieving this objective requires full industry collaboration and a focus on issues such as product safety and providing healthier choices, with an emphasis on “quality of life.”

The Future Value Chain programme is facilitated by the Consumer Goods Forum together with Capgemini, HP and Microsoft.

Nigel Bagley, director for industry affairs, Unilever, and co-chairman of 2020 Future Value Chain, said: “The trends highlighted in the report underline the need for even more collaboration among all parties in the value chain as we move through these challenging times. We should treat this as an opportunity to urgently act through putting in practice new plans and strategies that better suit the changing needs of our consumers.”

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