We are seeing that the ‘new normal’ is constant change

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The new normal is leaving many businesses confused and potentially exposed financially if they are not agile enough. So why is it so confusing and is there light at the end of the tunnel now that the pandemic is being managed…

In summary the light at the end of the tunnel is thick with fog

Though we probably won’t return to the stock pilling / empty shelves chaos seen during the initial phase of this pandemic. What we do know is that the path ahead is not straight forward.

The so-called COVID ‘new normal’ is no normal for the next couple of years anyway. The implication of this pandemic will continue to affect buying habits for years as we will see further lockdowns (towns / countries / people – vulnerable, quarantined), evolving working environments (partial working from home, staggered start times), recession impacts (higher unemployment rates, reduced spending level) and personal confidence (environment safety, wellbeing, income) all of which will be before / during and post a vaccination being identified as it once found it will need to be produced in scale and then rolled out across the world.

The pandemic has however, revived and even created in some cases communities. Neighbours checking in and shopping for each other. They are even talking to each other both physically and via newly created ‘whatsApp’ street groups.

This last change being the most significant change of all as it also confirms how a population of people who felt the digital world was beyond them have been forced to embrace it. A generation that thought ZOOM was an ice lolly for children are now online and using ecommerce.

But online shopping has not been the only benefit from this community shift as local convenience stores are now also being rewarded through increased footfall for the help and support they gave through the early part of the pandemic.

Commuter towns have seen a significant increase in footfall with the majority of big office workers now working from home and using them during the week. As highlighted above working environments are shifting but many feel that the days of working Mon-Fri in the office will never return fully as employees are saving money (travel costs) and time while employers are able to reduce office space and save on rent.

So yes the new normal is in fact constant change as the environment around us will continue to evolve over the next couple of years.

This constantly changing dynamic in demand creates the perfect environment for the bullwhip effect to hit businesses hard especially where their business model is not alert or agile to changing needs.

Why is it so complicated can they not just look at what they did last week and tweak ?!

Not so … Let’s look at just one element … a Manchester city lockdown and the knock on complications it creates within demand forecasting.

Last week will not be of any use as the footfall will be impacted, but by how much ?

When was the last time the lockdown rules were the same as this?

What time of year was that?

Were there any special promotions being run?

Where the schools and nearby offices open, closed or on holiday?

Were the supermarkets being affected by stock pilling?

Now if you are a local business you might be able to answer some of these but what if you were a larger company with multiple locations. Was there a ripple effect in local cities and towns…

Supply Management leaders now need superhuman powers to prevent product shortages and disappointed customers. Who as we know are now more fluid than ever in their buy habits.

Worried about where your superhuman powers will come from. Have no fear as www.catsai.co.uk plugin:predict AI demand forecast service can help.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions

Stuart Ware-Lane

catsAi Co-founder