This is Part One of a three-part series:
Part One: Managing disruption
Part Two: CPG versus the rest: Good and bad complexity
Part Three: Bridging the gap between commercial and supply chain planning
Bob Masching spent 30 years in executive positions across the CPG industry. He led multiple initiatives in supply chain transformations and the implementation of IBP across organizations. He began his career at the Quaker Oats Company as a plant industrial engineer: working with teams on the shop floor, implementing productivity and efficiency initiatives. During his time at Quaker and later PepsiCo, he had the opportunity to work in three different manufacturing facilities, before rotating into the companies’ HQ in various supply chain integration roles.
Early in his career, he realized the value of collaboration between go-to-market teams in brand marketing, sales, business development, and finance. After PepsiCo, Bob joined ConAgra Brands in a supply chain integration role. While there, he was asked to build an enterprise-wide S&OP function for the first time: trying to integrate and build standard processes over nine Business Units. Prior to his current role, Bob worked in global supply chain roles at the Goodyear Tire Company and Nature’s Bounty Company.
In his 30-year operation in CPG, Bob has never seen any prolonged disruption and impact on the industry that matches the one caused by the current pandemic. In essential industries, such as the food industry, it was an extraordinary effort to keep the food supply chains operating safely.
“There are several things we’re experiencing during this current COVID disruption and I would put them in four different stages of impact. First and foremost, the safety of our employees. Secondly, just making sure that we are minimizing, and avoiding any supply chain breakdowns.
Third, I think everybody is dealing with significant market demand shifting and demand destruction, in a significant way. And then lastly, I think we are starting to think about and plan forward for this phased reopening, or the new normal and what permanent changes we need to make within the supply chains to deal with it.”
From an employee safety standpoint, the number one priority was the safety of employees and the safety of facilities. At Trident Seafoods, this included numerous protocols, daily employee screening, redesigning of workspaces, and taking an industry-leading approach to quarantine plans for over 3000 employees, in fishing and operating shore plants in Alaska. From a supply chain breakdown standpoint, Trident was proactive: talking with and monitoring suppliers, shippers, distribution partners, and plant sites to ensure business continuity plans, agility and responsiveness, checking of order-to-delivery lead times to make sure they were minimizing any breakdowns.
Supply chains that are dealing with this disruption are certainly dealing with that like many in the food industry, as they work across multiple customer channels: national accounts, food service, and the grocery or retail channels.
And early in the pandemic, like most people in our industry, eat away from home saw a sizable disruption I’d call a 4-5x decline in volume almost overnight, and anything eat at home saw just the opposite So our club business our direct-to-consumer customers, as well as our grocery class of trade saw a tremendous, demand shifting. Trying to stay on top of that and sensing that has been a daily, weekly task for us, and I think we’re starting to get ahead of it a bit.
During the phased reopening many companies are trying to anticipate what the new normal is going to be. They are dealing with cost headwinds and trying to proactively deal with, mitigate, and make sure that they understand. Where and how the second wave of impact will strike from a demand of disruption and making sure that the product and channel priorities are clear to them to protect the business and the customer shelves.