Despite the belief that everyone is back to work, finding new talent is a greater challenge now than during the high-flying global economy of 2019. This is one of the main lessons from the impact of Covid (as well as the reminder that we humans are bad at predicting the future).
Recently, many of the world’s leading CEOs spoke about their companies in a post-Covid world. In short, they are proud of how their companies have pivoted and looked forward to taking what they have learned into the future. This blog post is 1-of-3 summarizing what they recently shared about the impact Covid brought on their companies and their people.
Carlos Brito, Anheuser-Busch InBev. For Anheuser-Busch InBev, success through the pandemic came down to the people. The company focused on building a culture of ownership. They made it clear that consumers expect you do more than sell a product. They want you to stand for something: highlighting collaboration is key to getting that done.
In any given week, AB InBev has two billion consumers around the globe, but the relationship shifted with Covid. Before the pandemic, consumers fulfilled their side of this relationship at the six million retailers and seemingly countless food and beverage outlets. However, the impact of Covid forced many consumer goods companies to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the skyrocketing use of eCommerce. Retailers and distributors across the globe quickly learned that applications and technological solutions were critical for survival when people couldn’t – or, as we see now, wouldn’t — physically interact as they had in the ‘before times.’ For AB InBev, the novel challenge of bringing beer to the consumer’s doorstep called for massive digitization. This collective challenge has called for fighting a new front in the war for talent: eComm and tech expertise. It’s a fight that is happening on all continents in a myriad of ways.
Revathi Advaithi, Flex. Perhaps the biggest understatement of 2021, Covid showcased the global interdependence of the supply chain. Despite tremendous changes in daily lives throughout the pandemic, global manufacturing partner Flex noticed that many areas saw insignificant drops in demand. As the globe begins to emerge further into the post-pandemic world, Flex expects there will be even more demand than in 2019. This will likely push the global supply chain to highlight the need for change in how supply is managed and supported.
In anticipation of this demand, Flex is looking at how it can produce goods closer to the consumer. This move would impact sustainability and quality of life by allowing more global economies to flourish. Easier said than done: labor availability is Flex’s biggest obstacle, quickly followed by the existing pressures on the current supply chain. Despite challenges, Flex believes the future is bright with high demand in all sectors.
David Taylor, Proctor & Gamble. P&G was not immune to the supply chain challenges that other CPG companies faced. The tightness in the global supply chain and the expected increase in raw materials will accelerate inflation, invariably impacting P&G and the economy. P&G expects this to affect nearly all commodities: from pulp from wood to oil-based elements and even organics. Higher inflation is likely coming sequentially, as many different input costs have increased, but P&G hasn’t noticed it widely in wages. In fact, Taylor is happy to share that P&G’s pay and benefits are excellent, making it easier for them to hire than other companies. He does acknowledge, however, that this could have a ripple effect that will likely have an impact on the company soon.
All this said, trucking costs and ocean freight have increased significantly due to employment concerns and raw material costs. To mitigate the economic risks, P&G is monitoring price increases in some markets and product verticals. Despite this action, P&G knows that pricing is a risky strategy because it relies heavily on the consumer willing to accept those changes. The global fight continues for talent, innovation, and cost efficiencies.