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How Covid-19 is reshaping retail supply chains

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  • Mark Simpson, Chief supply chain officer, Asda
  • Mikkel Rasmussen, Regional director, supply chain products, Europe, Maersk
  • Lisa Byfield-Green, Head of insight, Retail Week

This session was very timely, not least because of the various challenges the sector is facing, but also because of the rate of innovation across operations and logistics because of the pandemic.

It was a rich discussion where key leaders from across the retail ecosystem shared actionable insights into how supply chains being reshaped by Covid-19; what their biggest learnings have been; and what they are taking with them moving forward.

The key learnings from the conversation included:

  • Recent months have been extremely challenging for retail’s supply chains
  • We have seen some incredible agility and collaboration, particularly in grocery
  • We have seen pivots to early payments and incentives to suppliers to keep the supply chain moving; as well as cancellations in clothing orders from British retailers from Bangladesh suppliers which are estimated to be worth £2.5bn
  • Covid-19 has accelerated transparency within partnerships, with Mikkel Rasmussen pointing this out from a retailer/vendor perspective and Mark Simpson agreeing on this point from a retailer/supplier perspective
  • There has been a monumental shift to online grocery shopping and customers are shopping less, buying more and cooking more at home
  • We can expect to see a move towards parts of the supply chains becoming more localised in the future, a diversification of regions where products are sourced from, a focus on upstream visibility and a closer move to end-to-end visibility and transparency
  • Three words that characterise the future of retail supply chains: agile; end-to-end; and transparency

This event took place on Thursday 30 April, 2020.