VANCOUVER, 14th June 2019 — We review the key messages from the final day of the The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit in Vancouver, Canada, including the keynote session with Walmart International’s President & CEO, Judith McKenna.
Walmart’s Judith McKenna outlined the company’s transformational journey and its focus on reinventing the business from within. Launched five years ago, this has focused on building an omnichannel business which makes the most of its existing assets and solves a key pain point for customers – how to save time. To tackle this, the business has had to think less like a traditional bricks and mortar business and look to digital best practices centred on speed and agility. One of the major shifts for the business has been a willingness to take more risks, trialling and testing multiple initiatives while continuing to place a few big bets. Drawing on its acquisition of Flipkart in India last year, Walmart is learning the importance of total customer centricity, iterating solutions and deploying to win.
In a session focused on startups, Ruediger Hagedorn, Director, End-to-End Value Chain, The Consumer Goods Forum, explored how large companies can adopt the spirit of a startup. Four startup leaders shared their thoughts on this topic, highlighting the importance of operating at pace, creating the freedom and space for new ideas to bubble to the top and incentivising and rewarding risk taking. Four startup leaders participated in the session; Sastry Penumarthy, Co-Founder and VP Business Development, Punchh; John Brahim, CEO and AI Business Architect, Maistering; Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and Co-Founder, Catchpoint; and Eric Howerton, CEO, WhyteSpyder.
Collaboration was the focus of a session featuring Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Johnson & Johnson. Chaired by Peter Freedman, Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum, the business leaders outlined how collaboration starts with trust on a very personal level. One of the key lessons from the business leaders is to find three to four actionable and pragmatic initiatives to collaborate around which make business sense and deliver a meaningful and valuable outcome for consumers.
Having grown to be the world’s largest bakery, Grupo Bimbo’s Chairman of the Board and CEO, Daniel Servitje, outlined the factors which had underpinned its growth. A challenger attitude, connecting with people through a creative marketing campaign, relentlessly pursuing growth and expanding distribution, building a strong, person-centred philosophy and being patient have become the key principles which the business has organised around. However, despite its strong track record of growth, the business has set out to transform itself through changing its distribution models, developing a new approach to innovation, connecting its production facilities in different ways and embedding digital into its core processes.
With a view on the future of the retail workforce, Brad Oberwager, Founder and CEO, Jyve Corporation, outlined the potential of the gig economy. Highlighting that the gig economy is larger than most people give it credit for, the emergence of new digital platforms provides companies with the opportunity to transform how they resource their businesses. Oberwager stated his belief that the concept of permanent employees will change in the future, with people shifting seamlessly between organisations and roles.
Summit delegates also experienced two inspirational sessions from outside the consumer goods sector. Vincent Colliard, Polar Explorer, highlighted the fragile nature of the polar regions and urged retailers and manufacturers to seize the opportunity to be part of the solution. Astronaut, Captain, Scott Kelly shared his lessons from spending one year in space, outlining what it takes to take on some of the hardest challenges in life.
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