Today’s statement from Nestle that they expect issues this holiday season is a step in the right direction for retailers. The major shortfall in labour and fuel we’ve seen in the UK in recent months has left many retailers uncertain of how to handle the fast-approaching holiday demand, and acknowledging the issue is the first step to being able to resolve tensions and strains.
Nestle is a staple for many households during the holiday season, as families gather to share a Quality Street or cup of Nescafé, concerns around seasonal favourite availability are bound to loom. And as panic-buying mentality sets in, Nestle has been clever to get ahead of the panic by identifying the issues – but also opportunities – within their supply chain.
While the FMCG giant is focused on diversifying from standard sources – in this case, animal products – to look at how the company can better source and deliver on consumers’ Christmas wishes, this is just the beginning. Over the next two months, I expect we’ll see more and more retailers acknowledging the issues and identifying ways that they’re looking to make improvements.
Technology will be key here – whether in diving end-to-end, real-time visibility, supporting with forecasting based on previous trends and behaviours, but also (critically) external unknowns, using smart technologies and integrations will make managing the supply chain lifecycle, improving planning and fulfilment, and maintaining transparency one less thing for retailers to worry about as we head towards the holidays, and beyond.