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A new report, "Succeeding in a Volatile Market--2018: The Future Value Chain," published by the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI), Capgemini, HP and SAP AG, brings together insights and analysis of 130 of the industry's leading figures from Europe, North America, and Asia including China, India and Japan. The report examines the changing dynamics that will impact the industry in the coming decade and identifies how the industry can continue to meet the needs of consumers around the world.
The study is the result of a series of workshops conducted in June and September of this year that brought together a wide range of retailers, manufacturers, academics and industry organizations, including Capgemini, HP and SAP. These sessions revealed that for the consumer goods industry, market volatility resulting from the state of the global economy, fluctuating raw material costs and concerns about environmental sustainability has accelerated more rapidly than expected. Yet, despite the economic challenges, there are opportunities for retailers and manufacturers to grow and meet consumers' needs through improved collaboration between partners and through sharing best practices that can help the industry to better prepare for the coming decade.
"The trends highlighted in the report underline the need for even more collaboration between all parties in the value chain as we move through these challenging times. We should treat this as an opportunity to continue to find solutions that better suit the changing needs of our consumers. As necessity drives invention, we expect to see many breakthrough solutions being adopted in the coming years," said Chris Bull, Chief Customer Development Officer, Unilever.
The report also states that in ten years, the balance of economic power will have shifted, at both the consumer and the corporate levels; for example, the growing middle classes in Asia and the worldwide mass adoption of consumer technologies will drive new communication and purchasing patterns. The cost and availability of raw materials will affect supply chains, and environmental and socially sustainable sourcing will be an important option.
With an in depth focus on the Asian market, the report identifies the specific challenge of serving the needs of low-income consumers in Asia. Manufacturers and retailers have to cooperate on product development and customization to keep costs low and provide new product portfolios that suit low-income households without compromising on quality or service. Likewise, better logistics solutions and new retail models can ensure that products reach these households in the most efficient and sustainable way. The report describes this as affordable, available and appropriate.
"In the 10 years I have been in this industry, I have never before sat down with my industry partners and talked frankly about how, by working together, our industry can better serve our joint consumers. This is exciting and we look forward to supporting the ideas generated and fulfilling our commitments made on the Asian industry initiatives," said Harry Ahn, Senior Managing Director, Marketing Group, Samsung Tesco. Ltd.
The 2018 Future Value Chain program is not simply about identifying future industry trends over the coming decade; it also assesses their practical implications, recommending clear industry actions at a day-to-day operational level; some of which are already underway. Recommendations include prioritizing the importance of consumer insights and feedback, acting quickly on issues such as sustainability and preparing for new, hybrid business models that better serve consumer needs.
"We have the capability to achieve success for our industry in today's volatile market, both now and in the future," said Zygmunt Mierdorf, Member of the Management Board, METRO Group. "Through the collaborative efforts of the GCI and its member companies, the industry is working closer together than ever before, bringing companies together and driving projects and programs through collaborative engagement. It is up to us all to continue to work together to choose our future."
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