We know the last 6-8 weeks have been a huge challenge, no matter what industry or sector you are in. As we start to adjust to the new normal, we do need to focus on the opportunities. There is no better time to build relationships than when there is change or challenges. The companies that are most successful at improving relationships not only overcome short-term challenges, they adjust to the new priorities of their customers.
In the food industry the short-term priorities were to fulfill orders during a period of huge fluctuations in demand. Many suppliers were able to do this, which is terrific. They created or found inventory to keep warehouses and stores with product. They found creative logistics solutions to get the product where it needed to be. They implemented new processes in their production facilities to keep the staff safe and willing to come to work. Some suppliers are even finding creative ways to sell more direct and keep consumers interested. It is has been very impressive how the food industry has responded to this huge challenge.
All of the suppliers who have been able to rise to the challenge have improved their relationships with their customers. Certainly that was not in their 2020 business plan but they adapted. Retailers will remember the suppliers who ‘stepped up’ and worked hard to get inventory.
The situation we are in will be the new normal, until a vaccine or some other solution is developed, there are opportunities to improve relationships again.
If you want to learn more join me for this weeks FREE Recipe for Success Wednesday April 29 at 2 pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern) where we will help you figure out how to develop better relationships with your customers during these challenging times.
You have heard me say before we need to understand customer priorities and that is never more important than right now. They have changed and the good suppliers will recognize this and respond.
Sales would have been the top priority for retailers. Right now and until the food service industry is able to respond, retailers are doing more sales than they ever dreamed of. Consumers are lining up outside stores, buying huge orders and not really buying all the items on special. One retailer told me sales are like Christmas week, almost every week. As we all know with food service down so much, food retail is picking up the sales.
Priorities have shifted to:
Keeping warehouse and stores full with the right inventory. This is a huge challenge as demand continues to fluctuate. Our most recent online order had 23 items not available. This would be close to 75% service level. That is a lot of lost sales and frustrated consumers. They will be working hard to get this fixed.
Maintaining a shopping environment that is safe for employees and consumers. Stores continue to implement more physical distancing standards. This has to be in all areas of the business, not just front line employees. It is a challenge and often creates inefficiencies.
Improving ability to service and grow capacity in online shopping. They all have their own version and they are working diligently to reduce the time between orders placed and fulfilled and the accuracy of the orders.
Obviously sales are still on their radar but the programs to deliver sales are not as important as these initiatives. The good suppliers should be looking at the impact they can have on these 3 areas. Join us Wednesday April 29 at 2pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern) for our Recipe for Success where I will share some insights to help you address these priorities and improve your relationship with your customers.
At SKUFood we have changed our model to address the changing priorities of producers and processors in the food industry. All of those great conferences and events are not happening so I will not be able to travel across the country with my shopping cart. I will miss those events but we are making changes to allow us to deliver virtually. If you would like more information about that just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900. There are many great opportunities to interact virtually with your audience.
We are also adding some great tools to our SKUFood members only area. These tools are being designed to help our members in these challenging times. For more information on SKUFood membership you can find the details here:
We are also doing all of our consulting and coaching online. With the technology available now we can talk while you are wherever you want to be. It takes less time and you can be very focused and effective from your own chair. If you have a challenge with a customer or need some advice just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900. There are many great opportunities to interact virtually with your audience.
We are also developing our Recipes for Success every week to help producers and processors during these challenging times. You can join us this week on Wednesday at 2pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern) where I will share some insights to help you address these priorities and improve your relationship with your customers.