Another new year begins, and who knows what this one will bring? It can be tempting to avoid planning when global / societal and market conditions are so uncertain, but I would argue that at times like these it’s more important than ever to stick to your planning cycles, set goals and objectives and put plans in place to work towards them. That means that when inputs change, you have a good baseline plan to measure from, and can review and adjust appropriately to respond to the changes.
The REDS networking and learning sessions this month focused on goal setting and were well attended, engaging events. That sense of community is really building among the REDS membership which is great to see. We’d still like to expand the membership so if you or somebody you know runs a rural business, please consider/encourage joining or if you’d like to know more, get in touch.
Two new projects started for me this month, with Edinburgh Business School/Heriot Watt University and the University of Strathclyde. I hadn’t really considered the academic sector as a target market for Supply Chain Scotland but these are both interesting projects to get involved in and contribute to.
Great to start working with another new client, to perform a review of the production planning process and tools at Broxburn Bottlers. Actually being able to work on site rather than remotely as most other work has been this year was a novelty, and it is always fascinating to learn about another business, find out about the common challenges and those that are more unique, and start devising solutions.
It was nice to round off the working year signing off the end of my contract with Appetite for Angus by attending their Festive Market at Hospitalfield in Arbroath. Good to catch up with the producers there as well as picking up some of their amazing food to enjoy over the holidays!
Another exciting milestone in the REDS initative this month, with the launch of the REDS rural gift card scheme. As well as creating the communications explaining the benefits and recruiting members to join up, there was some fun getting out and about with the giant card to get some publicity shots for the press launch.
November also saw the start of a new Business Gateway Expert Help assignment with Wilde Mode, a designer and maker of gender inclusive sensory friendly underwear based in Dundee.
Alongside continuing work on Smart Village projects, something new this month was working with associate Jamie Buchanan on a contract for NHS Scotland Supply Chain – a really interesting project with a high workload and a fairly short timescale. Lots of research and market assessment, analysis, drawing conclusions and reporting.
Scotland Food and Drink announced support for Regional Food Groups around the country and it was great to be involved in putting together the successful bid for Appetite for Angus as well as attending the Beer & Berries festival during #ScotFoodFort20, representing the group and spreading the word about what it aims to achieve.
I’ve started getting more involved in the Smart Village Scotland project at GrowBiz so this month involved a lot of work getting up to speed on that as the existing project manager steps back, and bringing the latest Smart Village, Perthshire Adventure, an innovative group of adventure providers in Highland Perthshire, to launch at the end of the month.
Whilst things are still very difficult in many areas of the economy, there are some green shoots of recovery in others as lockdown has eased and some semblance of normality has started to emerge. There is certainly evidence from within our own client base of organisations realising that for the foreseeable future this is the “new normal” and projects which have been on hold getting under way.
At Supply Chain Scotland, this has meant progressing a process and systems review for Ooni, the market leaders in outdoor pizza ovens, and providing some mentoring for a KTP associate at Abertay University.
The REDS project also continued apace with the Directory going live towards the end of the month. Check it out here.
Something a little different this month as we undertook a project investigating subcontract manufacturer options for a fast-growing sauerkraut brand. This involved firstly finding out the peculiarities of the manufacturing process, and researching the market to identify potential partners, before engaging with them. Then having established those with interest, capability and capacity, creating a tender/briefing document and collating the results before feeding back to the client.
As well as continuing work on the REDS project, with focus on the Crowdfunder activity, I also managed to have a week on holiday in Gairloch, playing my own part in directly boosting the rural economy!
All areas of the economy have been badly impacted by the Coronavirus crisis and lockdown of society, but the rural economy has been particularly hard hit, with a reliance on tourism business that stopped entirely, and a higher proportion of micro businesses and self employed than in the rest of the country.
GrowBiz launched an ambitious multifaceted project aimed at supporting rural organisations across Scotland which I have been project managing, the Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland (REDS) project. Lots of activity on that in June, along with supporting rural clients to access the available Covid funding schemes and adapt their businesses where possible.
The Coronavirus Covid19 crisis has disrupted global supply chains considerably, with high profile failures in global manufacturing, some consumer goods (notably toilet roll, flour and pasta) and PPE equipment for healthcare and essential workers.
As well as those high profile cases, large swings in demand and supply at local level are having considerable impact as some businesses continue to operate while others are closed. Consumer demand has also undergone massive changes as countries impose lockdowns and shopping habits change.
As lockdowns are eased and some form of normality resumes, demand fluctuations are likely to continue and some of the changes in consumer habits may not be reversed. Keeping closely engaged with customers and suppliers is crucial, and adopting strategies that allow you to be agile and respond quickly to changes will pay dividends.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to review your supply chain resilience and perform some supply chain mapping. We can help guide you or facilitate that – get in touch if you’d like to discuss it.
Business Gateway Tayside asked me to host a webinar on the Supply Chain impact of the Coronavirus crisis. There were a wide range of attendees from across Scotland and further afield. I presented some content on supply chain risk and resilience, dealing with demand and supply challenges, and the importance of planning during times of great uncertainty, followed by a Q&A session. A copy of the slides is available here.
I’ve been working with Appetite for Angus, a new group advocating food producers, food tourism and hospitality in the Angus region. Some of this is brand awareness and marketing activity but there are also workstreams looking at shared distribution and shortening supply chains to engage local consumers and producers.
Something a bit different, I’ve spent a few days last month and this month with Clan Pods helping review their operations and advising on prioritisation, as part of Business Gateway’s Expert Help service. Interesting project and people, with some ambitious and innovative plans, it will be fascinating to see how they develop.
Also managed to squeeze in a great week skiing in the Alps 🙂
Happy New Year! Some new networking for the new year (and decade), joined the Perth 100 and attended some GrowBiz and Business Gateway events. Always good to meet people and make connections.
Surprised and pleased to be featured in The [Dundee] Courier this month, nice to get a bit of good PR!
Honoured and pleased to be asked to be on the panel for Sancroft International’s discussion relating to their recent report on supply chain disruption and sustainability, alongside Supply Chain leaders from the fashion and publishing industries. With a mix of attendees from the financial, sustainabilty reporting and other sectors it was a lively and varied discussion, really interesting to be involved and add my thoughts and experience to the conversation.
Also joined GrowBiz‘s award winning mentoring program this month, and upskilled myself on digital manufacturing at the University of Strathclyde National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.
Although it’s been in development for a couple of months, October saw the launch of Supply Chain Scotland – an exciting time!