With this series, we take a closer look into the world of the Consumer and the processes and people who make this demanding and convenience-driven industry tick.  The AIMS Consumer Practice Group has a close-knit team of expert Consultants spread across 12 different countries who are working for the world’s leading consumer brand manufacturing, retail and services companies.  These partnerships put us on the cutting edge of development in this highly demanding and fast-paced environment. 

This is the first episode in the series where we share a few thoughts and ideas about what makes it work.

EPISODE 1: High Season for Consumers: spare a thought for Rudolph and his fellow reindeer

A look behind the scenes into supply chain functions

Consumer business is seasonal business. In certain industries, one third of the entire annual turnover will be realized in the last 2 months of the year peaking during ‘Black Friday’ week and over Christmas. In addition, this is counting for both points of sales: Offline in cities and malls but even more important online in the Amazon world.

Consumers today are spoilt for choice and convenience and take it for granted that their favourite brands and wish list items will be in stock at a competitive price and delivered on time to their chosen destinations.

On the other side of this ideal consumer world is the world of Supply Chain Management (SCM) and the people who make it work. Let us have a look into the engine room of supply chain functionalities like production, purchasing, storage and distribution. Each one of these functions on their own is creating hundreds of job profiles. A key success factor for manufacturers as well as vendors and traders is the technical and organisational optimisation of the supply or value add chain to improve the cost and profit position in highly competitive market places.

It follows that job profiles fulfilling core functions in the supply chain engine room like Supply Chain Managers, Planning and Production, Warehouse and Operations Managers are therefore key to the profitability of these organisations. Here project management systems, information systems and processes are important, covered by positions like Project or Process Managers and Specialists. We are in an era of super-fast transformation of digital processes, also in supply chain, demanding IT Specialists who understand operations and key business drivers. Legal requirements, i.e. environmental, health and safety (EHS) and border controls have to be met by specialist skills.

The AIMS International network of more than 270 partners and consultants in 50 countries has built a deep and broad expertise searching and finding the right candidates for those specialised positions across all businesses and across borders. The Consumer Practice Team, under the leadership of Sarunas Dyburis, share the newest developments in Supply Chain and Customer Care competencies and technologies through constant communication and team work with the rest of our Consultants.  Not only constantly developing the expertise and the reach to find the best managers for your business, but many Partner offices offer leadership development and coaching programs to ensure your leaders are constantly growing.  AIMS strives to continually improve the service value chain and service excellence, a USP directly benefiting clients.

And what happens when consumers want to exchange and return their unwanted gifts after Christmas? Then reverse logistics processes are taking place; another supply chain activity starts while manufacturers, retailers and online platforms start planning for next year’s silly season!

Written by Paul Koglin, Associate Partner AIMS Germany