Pandemic buying behaviours force supply chain overhaul

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed buying behaviours to the point that existing supply chain strategies are no longer effective.

“New market requirements include consumer attraction to high-value offerings, digital engagements, and a major increase in remote working and e-commerce,” says Lukas Potgieter, chief operating officer at VSC Solutions.

Companies must determine the impact of this digitalisation on their brick and mortar supply chain through extensive route-to-market analysis. Such an exercise will allow them to reconfigure and optimise their strategies for new markets, segments and channels of operation.

They must then develop a comprehensive supply chain strategy that realigns their sales force, sales objectives and sales performance metrics, implements distribution and other transport services tactics that cooperate seamlessly with sales processes, evaluates how current supply chain resources are affected, and creates a clear roadmap to the new model, logically and cost-effectively.

The updated supply chain and route-to-market strategies must also facilitate ongoing calibration and continuous improvement.

Following supply chain optimisation, companies must explore new markets for growth and determine rout-to-market strategies for each new area.

“It is imperative to perform in-depth research and market analysis up front to develop a robust route-to-market strategy and an effective roadmap,” says Steve Johnson, growth and innovations director at Frontline’s Strategic Projects division.

A good route-to-market strategy unlocks product and brand growth potential by establishing optimal market reach in terms of distribution and supply chain, executing a coherent channel strategy, achieving competitive point-of-buying execution, and maintaining profitable customer management.

An effective route-to-market roadmap therefore demands integrated strategy formulation and cross-functional teamwork in execution. Marketing, sales, key accounts, logistics, supply chain and distribution must collaborate closely to achieve the business objective.

Most importantly, once established, organisations must commit to ongoing supply chain optimisation, as with their existing networks.

To improve their position during COVID, suppliers must remodel and optimise their supply chain strategy, and expand opportunistically into untapped markets.

Due to skills gaps in South Africa, many companies are however hard-pressed to assemble the talent to meet these requirements.

In response to this predicament, VSC Solutions has joined forces with Frontline Market Research to augment its strategic supply chain optimisation services with route-to-market and territory expansion capabilities.

“VSC Solution’s partnership with Frontline provides these essential competencies, giving suppliers the intelligence and resource to win,” explains Grant Marshbank, CEO at VSC Solutions.


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