Disruptive technology, supply chains and sustainability are top of mind challenges among consumer goods and retail companies

The Consumer Goods Forum and KPMG International recently released the findings of their annual Global Top of Mind Survey. The survey polled nearly 500 C-suite and senior executives globally and reveals how important digital technology will be over the next 12 months to consumer goods and retail companies – impacting everything from business growth and supply chain management to food safety, sustainability, and data security and privacy.

More than any previous year, the focus of executive attention has shifted from economic uncertainty to data, technology and the supply chain. As the consumer demand for digital experiences and e-commerce grows, retailers and manufacturers are looking at how they can meet these needs and operate in this new era of disruptive technology.

–54% of respondents cited digital strategy for mobile/digital platforms as top of mind for their business over the next 12 months; 32% of respondents however currently see themselves as having weak or no capabilities in these areas
–56% of consumer goods and retail business leaders cited data analytics as being important to their firm’s strategy, making it the highest-ranked strategic area in the survey
–47% of the respondents cited data security as being very or critically important to their business, and 29% said it will be one of their biggest challenges over the next 12 months. Data analytics were also cited as one of the three biggest business challenges over the next 12 months (21%).

The supply chain was rated by consumer goods and retail executives as the number one challenge for their companies – and is also the most likely to receive increased investment this year.

–38% of executives cited supply chain management as their main challenge
–42% placed supply chain management at the top of their list for increased investment over the next 12 months. This was followed by international expansion (32%) data analytics (28%) and digital strategy (28%)
–45% of executives said speed and agility is their top priority for improving the supply chain.

Sustainability driving decisions
A significant number of consumer goods and retail leaders also indicated the importance of corporate social responsibility in their plans for the next 12 months through transparency and environmental considerations.
–44% of business leaders cited traceability and transparency around end-to-end value chains as a top goal for their company just ahead of reducing waste and emissions (42%) and sustainable sourcing (41%)
–Food retailers and manufacturers listed health and wellness (47%) and securing food safety (46%) as their top goals for the next 12 months
–52% of respondents reported that they have a strong or good capability to meet their sustainability agenda. Reputation and brand (41%), consumer demand (34%) and competition (28%) were cited as three main drivers behind sustainability
–56% said health and wellness and/or CSR and sustainability priorities are very important to their business.

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