Unilever, an Agile Supply Chain, and the decline of Scenario Planning

Last month Unilever, the CPG giant, released its Q1 sales results. Unlike P&G, which saw an increase of about five percent, Unilever was relatively stagnant. According to Barrons: Sales of the company’s hygiene and cleaning brands, including Cif surface cleaners and Domestos bleach surged by double digits as consumers stocked up to clean their homes… Continue reading

Walmart proves that omnichannel can compete with Amazon after COVID-19, but can others?

During the coronavirus pandemic, where decades of mismanagement and grift at major retailers led to accelerated bankruptcies, Walmart trended the other direction. Absolute dominance. Walmart, America’s largest retailer, saw overall revenue increase by 8.6% while maintaining higher operating margins. Online sales, arguably the most critical battleground in modern retail, grew 74%. “Our omnichannel investments have… Continue reading

Marc Andreessen misses the point with It’s time to build

Writing on the Andreessen Horowitz blog, influential tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen published It’s time to build. The essay laments Western civilization’s response to the coronavirus. To Andreessen, who the New Yorker labeled a “farsighted theorist” and sits alongside Bill Gates and Peter Thiel in the pantheon of serious Silicon Valley thinkers, the issue is desire.  He writes: The problem is… Continue reading

Where did Zoom come from?

The general consensus is that seemingly overnight Zoom went from an unknown company to essential infrastructure. That’s not true. Prior to the coronavirus, it was a major player in enterprise communications.  The reason most people didn’t know about it, is that it was designed as a B2B company (business-to-business sales) rather than a B2C (business-to-consumer)…. Continue reading

General Mills: From foodservice to retail, the impact of coronavirus

In the age of coronavirus, American consumer product companies, like General Mills, are working overtime to ensure that people stay fed in an era of self-containment. It has been almost two weeks since President Trump declared a national emergency, and numerous states followed with “safer-at-home” orders. In a matter of days, Americans went from eating… Continue reading

Information lag. Coronavirus and the CPG supply chain

Just one week after March 15, 2020, when President Donald Trump claimed the US had ‘tremendous control’ of the coronavirus pandemic, California Governor Gavin Newsome ordered all state residents to stay home. “The order,” the New York Times reported, “represents the most drastic measure any governor has taken to control the virus.” Similar orders may become… Continue reading

What is a CPG company? It’s more than just a brand.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are everywhere. However, most consumers know them by the brands they produce. Sprite, Tide, and Moleskine notebooks are all packaged goods purchased and used by millions every day. Coca-Cola, P&G, and Moleskine are the CPG companies that produce them. At a high level, a CPG company manufactures products, sells them… Continue reading

The Campbell Soup Company — Processed food growth in a fresh world

Last week the Campbell Soup Company announced that its recent investment in soup marketing paid off. This news is somewhat surprising. Nearly all research shows that consumers want fresh food. According to IRI, in 2017, fresh sales accounted for approximately 30.5 percent of all food sales, with produce, bakery, and deli meats accounting for most… Continue reading