Back to work this past week, I was privileged to participate in a working session focused on trends in the Consumer Products & Retail (CPR) sector. The following may be particularly relevant for consideration:

  • Continued Globalization – As firms continue to evolve internationally, many are using dynamic and creative operating model structures. This applies to customer-facing operations – such as using online distribution in some countries and physical stores, with brand management variations, in others – and back-office operations providing services across geographies, functions or business units.
  • Digital Challenges – Manufacturers increasingly need to manage digital paths to purchase (e.g., porting to retailers), and retailers must redefine the shopper experience beyond the four walls of stores or beyond a single website. Both often struggle with reverse logistics made more complex in digital environments.
  • Accelerated Analysis Cycles – With data becoming more prevalent, analyses that used to take place every two years – portfolio reviews, media buys, etc. – are now occurring twice a year or even quarterly. Firms must ensure the appropriate metrics are defined. For example, improving the customer experience is a more valuable ambition than reducing call center time.

Additionally in the short-term, the impact of sub-$50 oil prices will continue to play out. How quickly prices fluctuate – and in which direction – remains to be seen. Should be an interesting 2015…