a) The technology has/is driving a generational shift in most sectors. Retail is of course most evident as all of us are consumers. But there are deeper changes happening in the background for retailers, breaking down their data silos, linking up with suppliers and distributors and ultimately shifting their business models to serve our needs better and in a differentiated fashion.
b) A real strength of character is required to take a step back and build your own differentiated strategy based on your deep understanding of your strengths.
c) The answers may not be easy and deep change, across the organisation, could be required to ensure the organisation is fit for purpose. While there might be multiple steps to get there, the target must be absolutely clear. And in fact, a dynamic operating model mindset may be required to design the organisation for ongoing change.
d) There are no sacred cows and more retailers may increase the share of private label products/services in their portfolio. Manufacturers need to get closer to the end-users of their products, evolving away from the traditional manufacturers - distributor - end customer chain to a more direct to consumer model. This is one of the main drivers for change.
e) The technology/data, especially AI, would be critical to continue to deeply understand your ecosystem including customers, suppliers, supply chain, finance instruments etc. The technology needs to be thought of in terms of enabling smooth running of end-to-end business processes to deliver an outcome rather than stitching together endless pieces of point solutions.
f) The pace of change will continue to demand rapid action and adopting business applications, inherently designed for Cloud, is the best way to keep your IT current. While AI will reduce the cost of prediction, the blockchain reduces the cost of verification.
Progressive manufacturers have already been responding e.g Yankee Candles, Unilever (T2) brand, Samsung, Apple etc.. have their own stores and Alstom, Xeros, Carbon 3D etc. provide services (and not just products). Will we see more manufacturers recognise the shift and take action with a sense of urgency?
The John Lewis Partnership today outlined the next phase of its strategy, designed to develop and strengthen the business. The key points are: Focusing on differentiation, not scale: An increased focus across the whole business on competing through differentiation and innovation, not scale Maintaining higher level of investment in product and service innovation: Continue to invest at a rate of £400m-£500m per year, take further steps worth £500m over three years to strengthen the balance sheet, while recognising the short-term pressure on profits Partners at the heart: Recognising and enhancing the role Partners play in the differentiation of both Waitrose and John Lewis