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12/22/2021

Building Bridges & Accelerating Transformation: CG Leaders Are Full Speed Ahead in 2022

New normal, post-pandemic, the after times: Call it what you will, but the only reason 2021 couldn’t possibly be a year for the record books is that it’s coming off the heels of yet another. While we’re loath to call it unprecedented (gag), it’s hard to reconcile whether 2021 was really a year in its own right or merely an extension of the one before it — a continued rocky unfurling of the pandemic and all the disruption it envelops.  

And yet/but still, the consumer goods industry continues to hum, both seek and ignite inspiration, and hold fast to its commitment of serving customers and consumers in their times of need. What’s more, today’s leaders — many of whom could now teach a master class in disruption — are united in a determination to evolve this ferocious dedication to consumers toward both their associates and business partners.

We tapped some of today’s leading minds in the industry to collect not only their takeaways from this year, but to also get a read on what they’re prioritizing heading into 2022 — as well as what’s on their personal or professional bucket lists for the year.

We’ve posted this on the CGT LinkedIn Page and encourage you to share your own thoughts there!  

 

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Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

VP, Global Research and Insights
MillerKnoll        

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?                                              

We have learned a great deal about what's needed to promote the health of organizations moving into 2022. We should recognize that while people's relationships with members of their own teams may now be stronger than ever, relationships between different teams within an organization may have become very weak, particularly if employees with broader internal networks have moved on in 2021 and new employees with limited networks have joined the organization.

As such, leaders need to ensure that team members build strong bridges to other groups that may have grown distant over the last few years — literally and metaphorically — if they want large-scale innovation, that requires inter-team collaboration to succeed.                

What's on your personal or professional bucket list for 2022?

I consider it a real privilege to be someone who speaks daily about the future of work and workplace, but our team has faced overwhelming demand for these insights in the last few years. In 2022, I'm going to register for a few key conferences, attend in person, and soak up other peoples' wisdom to enrich myself, fill my cognitive gas tank, and think about the world in new ways!


 

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Kimberly Becker

Kimberly F Becker

Senior Research Director
Gartner

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

From a consumer products supply chain perspective, the continued focus on balancing agility and resilience with efficiency as disruptions and gridlock continue. Increased digital transformation including hyper-automation will drive efficiencies that can allow trade-offs to invest in strategies to increase agility and resilience such as supplier diversification and network changes; SKU rationalization to maximize profitability and capacity constraints; and supply chain segmentation and specific technologies.             

2022 Bucket List

Supply chains have become front-and-center and the future is accelerating at a rapid pace, and this is keeping us very busy and engaged. Need to ensure you are able to disconnect and decompress — especially those of us who are working remotely and it's hard to turn off.

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

Definitely technologies that support agility and resilience: supply chain visibility; risk monitoring; and enhanced planning (based on data and machine learning)        

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

Digital transformation will have an impact on almost every supply chain activity — eliminating some but in most cases augmenting those roles. There will be a huge focus on digital skills — particularly digital dexterity, the ambition and ability to apply technology for better business outcomes. Additionally, looking at new skills and competencies and inclusive leadership traits to promote a culture of innovation, creativity, adaptability and risk taking.

Additionally, hybrid work is quickly becoming the norm and we are seeing supply chains moving from “location-centric” to “human-centric” model where work will center around individuals rather than places.         


 

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Sandeep Dadlani

Sandeep Dadlani 

Chief Digital Officer
Mars      

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

Attracting, reskilling and retaining digital talent for meaningful problem solving at scale both within our companies and in our extended partner ecosystem is going to be one of the biggest challenges for most companies in 2022. We have all survived a pandemic and are getting into our next normal phase.

We at Mars are working on a strong talent attraction agenda including partnerships with many universities, a strong reskilling and learning agenda with strategic partners like Udacity, Microsoft, and Linkedin Learning, and with a compelling digital learning curriculum and formats.

2022 Bucket List

I want to visit my parents in India. It's been too long, and I am hoping they can visit me back, all in 2022!  I am also hoping for a true summer vacation travelling with my family without any scares, quarantines or tests. That would be fun. Professionally we are at a critical stage on many Mars digital transformation programs where we are delivering the benefits we signed up for. We have to deliver in this last stretch and continue to drive this amazing movement in this amazing company. So we will have to go 100X in this stretch and also define the next wave of transformation.

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?

No two areas have been more challenged, disrupted and transformed through innovation like supply chain and marketing in 2021. So we have to adapt some of the KPIs as we move to 2022 and beyond.

In supply chain, for example, one metric the entire industry is focusing on more is resilience: how much are your products and raw materials sourced through multiple sources). Another one is around volatility: what is our sales and supply forecast accuracy? Automation is becoming key for our supply chains, so productivity becomes a more meaningful metric than ever before.

We are also living in a world of multiple channels and so how we measure channel-batch size-throughput will be key.  In marketing, we have seen a massive shift of spend to digital, at the same time we face many more distributed media channels. As we build culturally relevant brands, we have to drive an even higher performance marketing culture linked with brand purpose.


 

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Val Fishbain

Val Fishbain        

Co-founder/President
Spread The Love Foods

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

Supply chain and shipping issues, including continuing to cultivate open communication across stakeholders from partners to direct customers/clients. We plan to navigate them by developing relationships with 3PL & shipment partners.

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

Recruitment is more difficult than ever. We're investing more time, patience and money when it comes to hiring talent.       

What's on your personal or professional bucket list for 2022?

Take more breaks and travel with the family to Europe.


 

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Michael Gagnier

Michael Gagnier 

Technology Transformation Lead
Andrew Peller Ltd.
            

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

As COVID restrictions are removed, maintaining e-commerce momentum will be the single biggest obstacle. To navigate it, continue to improve the consumer journey for digital, and offer more options on delivery, ease of purchase, and value add content that supports purchase.    

2022 Bucket List

For 2022 I want to look for a startup or new category or both. I'd like to take all I know about digital and help bring to market a new player.          

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

Continued digital innovations within the industry from CPG companies, and continued use of AI to develop advanced consumer insights.                

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

As more companies focus on upgrading technology there is a shortage of technical skills. We continue to leverage partners versus higher in-house for expert technical resources.           

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?

For digital, it will be same day or better delivery for all products with free delivery. This is the standard that has been set by the largest digital players and you either match or lose. This will be the greatest challenge for mid-market players.         


 

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Jon Harding

Jon Harding

CIO
Conair

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

As we continued to work 100% remotely for the first half of 2021, I found it increasingly difficult as a leader to engage informally with many members of my team — working hours were filled with formal, online meetings on projects. As the “great resignation” (or perhaps better described as the “great re-evaluation” of employees thinking about their purpose in life and how to meet those goals) picked up speed during that first half, I became worried about this lack of interaction.

I was relieved when we switched to a hybrid-working model in July and now each team member is in the office half the time. While this still doesn’t allow for large town-hall meetings; it does enable more interaction one-to-one with individual team members. 

2022 Bucket List

Visit my homeland of England four times to see my elderly mother in-person, and enjoy the wonderful countryside and historical sites. Increase contact with friends to make up for time lost during the pandemic. Help my daughter get a job after she graduates college this summer!

I am more focused this year than before on taking every opportunity to use a few minutes at start of each meeting I attend – irrespective of topic — to talk about how our business is doing. Everyone can read about the supply chain problems which impact our business as much as our competition so I want to explain simply how we are addressing this and the sales results we are achieving as a result of having the right inventory available.

My aim here is to focus on retention. We all know losing a team member is costly in terms of recruitment time and cost, and worse; disruptive to project progress and/or day-to-day service levels. I believe in the “preventative maintenance” of retention versus the “break/fix” of recruitment.

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?

Supply chain efficiency is a critical success factor given the ongoing levels of disruption due to the pandemic. Therefore KPIs for 2022 are: sales & operations planning (S&OP) forecast accuracy; inventory turns; on time and In full percentage of deliveries per major customer.


 

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Jamie Head

Jamie  Head

Chief Digital Officer
Ocean Spray

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

During the pandemic we have seen a larger shift to remote and hybrid working, and technology needs to continue to play a large role in shaping our team members’ experience — making it secure, intuitive and most importantly, frictionless (with improved digital processes and automation). Within the IT industry and here at Ocean Spray, we have more remote roles in place today than we did pre-pandemic. Because of this, it is important for us to focus on our teams’ rituals and routines so that we drive forward and achieve our commitments to our family-farmer owned cooperative.

For example, agile teaming is renowned for working best when all together in “one-room.”’ The challenge ahead: how do we maintain the creativity, engagement and spontaneity of our teams in a hybrid environment regardless of the technology we decide to use.

2022 Bucket List

Business transformation work. Advance data and analytics into agriculture. Give back more to the community, and devote more time to mentorship.

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?  

Our technology team plays a critical role in making sure our internal stakeholders can leverage advanced data and analytics to advance decision making in our supply chain, as well as within marketing to ensure our MarTech platforms are integrated and absorbing consumer-first party data. This drives the right experience and placement of our products’ “digital” footprint within a changed and growing omnichannel marketplace.

Ensuring our digital shelf has the right information displayed and localized to aid in consumer decision making requires a significant amount of technology and business process work. We do this to maintain quality and trust with our consumers.


 

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Ivonne Kinser

Ivonne Kinser      

VP Marketing & Innovation
Avocados From Mexico

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

The biggest problem will be siloed and disconnected data. As we get equipped to function in a cookie-less world, we are in a race against time to build our first-party data around a multidimensional 360 profile of our consumer.

The problem is that the data needed to have a full view of our consumer is fragmented and spread across departments and platforms, but the solutions to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together are in the MarTech and the AdTech ecosystems. We are currently working fast and furious conducting exploration expeditions into the MarTech and the AdTech spaces to identify the technologies, solutions and partners that would allow us to connect all data sets from multiple platforms and partners to create one multi-dimensional 360 view of our first-party data within our CDP.

2022 Bucket List

In my professional bucket list for 2022 is the successful shift of mindsets, thinking, beliefs and processes that will create the right conditions to continue to move produce marketing forward propelled by this modern approach. I believe that if AFM succeeds, our industry succeeds. As responsible category leaders we are aware of the significance of this kind of efforts, not only for the evolution that they inspire in our industry, but also in similar industries that have witnessed how AFM has successfully built a brand in a brand-less category.

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

A lot of exciting new solutions, capabilities and platforms are coming from the artificial intelligence and machine learning space. We have been hearing a lot about AI over the past few years, but it is not stopping any time soon because that tech is much bigger than just a trend, and rather a transformational force that will continue to impact every industry and every category, and more importantly it will continue to impact the way we all live.

Interesting predictions around the Metaverse paint a picture of AR and VR on steroids powered by AI and machine providing an immersive mixed reality experience where the audiences are the heroes of the story instead of the spectators. From a brand’s perspective, this would be a dream environment to establish strong emotional bonds with consumers.


 

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Tom Madrecki

Thomas Madrecki               

VP, Supply Chain
Consumer Brands Association

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

Supply chain, supply chain, supply chain. The buzzword of 2020 and 2021 shows no signs of going away. Now more than ever, government needs to make serious strides toward strengthening supply chain competitiveness and resiliency.

Likewise, consumer goods companies will need to rapidly invest and course correct where necessary to adapt to changing consumer demands. Those that successfully navigate the challenges of scarce transportation capacity, short-staffed workforces, lack of manufacturing and warehouse space, and surging growth will be winners in the "new normal."        

2022 Bucket List

Professional: After nearly two years of mostly virtual events and meetings, it's hopefully time again to unite as an industry in-person and network to solve common challenges. Personal: My wife and I had our first son in February 2020 and our second in October 2021. Stoked to explore the world with those two in 2022 and beyond, and introduce them to my love of travel and the great outdoors.

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

With supply chain at the forefront, companies made huge strides toward enhanced efficiency and new models of operational excellence through the development of contactless delivery technology. Reducing paperwork and being able to switch up delivery operations to focus on getting in and out of facilities quickly is a potential game-changer for the transportation marketplace writ large.

Consumer Brands helped consumer goods companies and major retailers pioneer the technology through its Contactless Delivery Task Force, and we expect big things for it over the coming decade as adoption picks up and is married to other technological advances like those for shipment visibility, truck autonomy, situational awareness and more.               


 

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Mary Rodgers

Mary Rodgers      

Director of Marketing Communications
Cuisinart        
                       

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

One of the ongoing trends in technology is the sheer amount of data and AI platforms available for use in business decisions and monitoring business categories. The number of platforms and datasets marketers have access to now even compared to a year or two ago is amazing. The impact going forward is the level of intelligence available for marketers to understand consumers, business, competitors, and trends and if the platform is well designed with a great UX, anyone with access has the world at their fingertips. With AI, decisions just keep getting less risky.

2022 Bucket List

For my personal list two things are at the top of it, be more committed to my continued studies of the Italian language, take a real vacation where I disconnect. On the professional front, my team’s overall focus is towards marketing automation, having our PIM drive (launching January) our product landing pages on our site thereby reducing redundancies within our stack and a full UX study across our online ecosystem.

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

In terms of talent and recruitment, one of the things we are seeing in the data area is that there is not enough of a talent pool to support the growing needs of marketers to analyze data. When it comes to data analytics, it is a possibility that there is not a large enough population of young people who want to enter that field because they don't find it exciting or cutting edge. Additionally, the university systems is not moving enough graduates into this area so that talent pool isn’t growing from the bottom up. That is the struggle.         

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond? 

Right now, across most consumer durable goods the supply chain is still unstable and influx, and we are staying nimble and flexible as we have over the last almost two years. It is an ongoing corporate effort to work closely with sales, forecasting as far in advance as possible to meet the demands of the marketplace. 

We believe as things continue to evolve and food inflation grows, families will need to restructure meal preparation, relying more on short cuts, meal planning and alternative methods. This is where batch cooking and advance meal prep will go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety. Food processors and sheet pan/roasting pan and big pot cooking will work best for consumers. And the freezer will be your friend. 

Major KPIs within the DTC and retail sales space will continue to move towards conversion and return on ad spend. On the marketing side, acquiring new and keeping customers loyal will be key in continuing to grow the business.


 

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Maggie Sadowsky

Maggie Seng Sadowsky

President and Owner
8 Track Foods

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

Distribution. We want to create a more sustainable food system, not just a sustainable product. As we continue to share our mission for 8 Track Foods, we see a strong interest in independent grocers who understand the value of a sustainable brand.

2022 Bucket List

8 Track Foods married my passions with my professional expertise, and the results are more fulfilling than I ever imagined. In 2021, we were able to forge new partnerships to make a local and global positive impact. In 2022, we are on track to continue to build up our community and our planet with plastic-free solutions. As a natural innovator, I can't wait to share our next generation of products. Although a can of beans may not seem like the sexiest product in the grocery store, I never tire of coming up with simple real whole food plant-based recipes.

To support them, we need to provide the most cost-effective distribution model. We will navigate the path to co-ops and independent stores chains with more regional distributors who value community and support women-owned businesses.

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?

The supply chain cracked last year, and the model of just-in-time ordering caused massive delays and consumer angst. Thankfully, at 8 Track Foods, we source all our packaging materials and ingredients from the United States. This model keeps our food miles low and supports local farmers. As other companies struggle to find solutions, we built a solution pre-COVID.

Our strong relationships allow us to navigate the supply chain post-pandemic with our domestically sourced ingredients. We believe managing and securing inventory will be table stakes in 2022 and the years to come.


 

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Steve Sigrist

Steve Sigrist        

VP Customer Service
Newell Brands                   

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

Disruptions in the global supply chain will persist. Certainly, this ultimately translates to a challenge in simply getting merchandise to the shelves and impacting the customer experience.

To effectively tackle, where possible, we have increased production, safely implemented additional shifts at our manufacturing facilities, and streamlined production to prioritize and maximize output of top-selling products to replenish stock as quickly as possible. We are also finding solutions through shipping through other ports, consolidating distribution centers, and leveraging our position as a large volume importer. 

2022 Bucket List

Promote and appreciate a "return to normal" activities with an increased number of face-to-face events.  

Prior to the pandemic, we’ve taken action to avoid these issues in the future through our integration of more than 20 supply chains into only one. As a company with multiple business units and a variety of different brands, we’ve found doing this of high priority to ensure the best possible service to our customers and consumers. 

What are the supply chain and/or marketing KPIs that will become table stakes in 2022 and beyond?

Customer experience (CX) — the holistic view of all interaction a consumer/trade customer has with your organization.                             

Intentional and distinct emphasis to cultivate a stronger sense of community across our team members. 


 

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Dwan Vine White

Dwan Vine White

VP, Global Marketing
House of Cheatham

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

A big obstacle for us in 2022 is effective planning around unknowns within the supply chain. It's become so much more challenging to develop product launch timelines and estimate raw material and packaging costs when lead times and material costs are constantly increasing.

Our approach to navigating the issue involves reprioritizing launches by looking at what's in the product development pipeline and first launching products that utilize many of the raw materials and packaging in our current inventory that we already buy in bulk or have easier access to. In short, launching the lowest-hanging fruit first to decrease fluctuations in our timelines.                 

2022 Bucket List

Reprioritizing self-care and REST. I'm relearning how to detach and enjoy rest without feeling guilty that I should somehow be multitasking during my down time.                

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

Most of 2020-2021 our team worked virtually. I'm quite fortunate to have team members who are responsible and work exceptionally well on their own. While this didn't disrupt the flow of business, it fostered a lack of cohesiveness and synergy, often resulting in the right hand not being clear on what the left hand was doing.

In Q2- 2021, we returned in-office, but on a rotating schedule. Everyone had become used to working on their own and only rarely would be in each other's presence all together. In this last quarter of 2021, I've become very intentional to bring back regular in-person department meetings, increase group communication, and have in-person casual team gatherings so that we can reclaim the comradery we had pre-pandemic, while indoctrinating new hires into our department's bond and culture.                         


 

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Joel Warady

Joel Warady

President
Catalina Snacks Inc.

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

It is too easy to say that the biggest obstacle in 2022 is going to be the supply chain. That does not properly describe the issues we face. We must properly manage cash, inventories of ingredients and packaging, inventory of finished goods, and warehouse space.

At the same time, we face logistic challenges, challenges with customer forecasts, and our own internal forecasts. We need to spend increasingly more on technology to help us manage all of these areas of focus.                      

2022 Bucket List

With age comes perspective. Living through a global pandemic brings even more perspective. I no longer have a bucket list. I simply enjoy each and every day, am grateful for the opportunities with which I am presented and am passionate about the opportunity to work with others in a positive and uplifting manner to the best of my abilities.

If you are a good-hearted person, and you do your job well, and consistently serve others more than yourself, both personally and professionally, your life will be more fulfilled beyond what a bucket list might provide.

How have your views on talent, recruitment, or team leadership changed in the last 12 months? What are you doing differently now vs. last year?

The biggest change that we have experienced revolves around corporate culture and how we as a business create and improve company culture while operating as a remote company. In the past, we were willing to experiment with allowing non-production employees the opportunity to work from home two days per week. Today it is five and we will probably continue this through 2022.

It requires a change in leadership style, a change in setting KPIs and expectations, and a change in how we help our team members grow in their own career. Individuals who might have been great leaders in 2019 might not have the necessary skills to be great leaders in 2022.  


 

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Tanya Zrebiec

Tanya Zrebiec      

Head of Innovation and Strategy
1822 Denim

What will be the single biggest obstacle in 2022, and how do you plan to navigate it?

As a result of the pandemic, e-commerce business has experienced tremendous growth in 2020 and it will continue to increase in the years to come. With this growth, we will experience a more competitive and crowded landscape and greater competition will lead to more one-time buyers.

Brands will need to work harder to find their niche, perfect their brand story, focus on customer loyalty and trust by strategically building relationships and providing a more personalized shopping experience.

2022 Bucket List

My personal and professional bucket list for 2022 would include leading with empathy and kindness, finding ways to make a difference in my community and professional industry, continuing to prioritize time with family and friends, experience new adventures, discover new places and connect with exciting people from all walks of life.

What are some of the most exciting technology innovations that came out of this year, and what will their impact be going forward?

There is an abundance of exciting technology innovations that we have seen touch the fashion industry in the last year. For me, the most exciting tech to emerge is 3D body scanning technology, such as our partners’ at 3DLOOK. I am passionate about changing the narrative that has existed for so long in the fashion industry around sizing.

For years the fashion industry has been telling us what to wear, what size we should be, and what the standards of beauty should be. With 3D body scanning technology we can change the conversation, make better products, improve our designs based on our customers' body shape and size, right-size our inventory levels based on demand, and significantly reduce return rates and our carbon footprint.