CPG: It’s Time to Up the Creativity
This pandemic is starting to feel like The NeverEnding Story, don’t you think? The reality is that “normal” is not coming back anytime soon, if ever. And like you’ve heard before, it’s time to pivot and adjust. In other words, sink or swim!
Now is the time to get creative with how to manage your business while dealing with the rising challenges related to COVID-19.
Today, I’d like to present three simple but powerful ideas, along with three clear action items. They may not surprise you, but what is surprising to me is how many people and businesses are succumbing to the panic instead of pivoting.
Idea 1: Look at Inventory Options
The typical supply chain is broken. Quit trying to repair it! Look for options and move forward.
For example, jump into a new niche. Your product may not be selling, but guess what is? Cleaning and other “essential” products! There are times when we come to a crossroad and have to make a choice. A pandemic is certainly one of those key moments, so perhaps it’s time to evaluate jumping into a new product niche and taking the risk. Confer with your innovation/new products team ASAP!
You can also reinvent your current inventory. Look at demand and identify your next best sellers. This could be as easy as repurposing your existing inventory. It is all about perspective and creativity! What does that look like? Maybe you have 2-packs and your clients are ordering 3-packs—or your clients want singles and you offer multi-packs. Those are easy packaging conversions! Another example: think of your slow seller vs. your best seller. How about a kit that includes one of each? That way, you can move inventory and drive sales on both.
Call a meeting with your Account Managers and Inventory Manager and start the talks!
Idea 2: Diversify your Supplier Portfolio / Look for Outsource Opportunities
Yep. On the list of ways to become more nimble, sourcing quickly rises to the top!
Do not handicap yourself by maintaining a tight portfolio. Currently, you should have two and three secured options for each of your “chains” to ensure you can respond to market fluctuations quickly.
Set up a plan with your Procurement team and start evaluating prospective vendors!
Idea 3: Build your Finance Team
Regardless of the size of your business, when the going gets tough, a strong Finance team/advisor/firm is the key to survival. You would be amazed at how many businesses are still winging it! If you have a Finance team, make sure they are part of your business conversations. They need to be your partners from day one.
No one can say how long this pandemic and its related fallout will last. My best recommendation is to plan, plan, and plan some more! Connect with your Finance team, lay out a worst-case scenario, and then strategize what you could do about it, knowing what you know today.
Moreover, be wise about who you trust for advice as you manage your company’s finances. At my company, we are fortunate to have the expertise of a trusted accounting firm who does a great job sending us relevant updates.
Find your reliable information source and ensure that your Finance team has them on speed dial.
Again, these are not mind-blowing new strategies, but in today’s sink or swim climate, they can certainly help keep you and your business afloat during chaotic times like these.
Please do not hesitate contacting me directly with any questions or comments.
Jaclyn Noroño-Rodriguez is the Director of Sales at BCI Packaging, a for-purpose contract packaging company with a unique dual business and social mission. BCI Packaging is centrally located in St. Peters, Missouri along Interstate 70 in the heart of the Midwest. They serve local and global companies with purpose-driven contract packaging and light manufacturing services that are second to none. Headquartered at 200 Trade Center Dr. W in St. Peters, Mo., BCI Packaging currently employs more than 250 adults with disabilities. For more information, call Jaclyn at (636) 875-5268 or visit www.bcipackaging.com.