-Forward Thinking Leaders -

The SA Leader Magazine

Digital September 2015 Cover

In the September issue

How to recruit through Social Media

Uber yourself before you get Kodaked

POPI and Medical Practices

Leading and staying focus


Marketing Articles

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Misconceptions about marketing “in Africa”

Misconceptions about marketing “in Africa”

With some of the fast-growing economies in the world on our doorstep and growth ... Read more

The Customer Service Obstacle Course

The Customer Service Obstacle Course

I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but have you ever noticed how some compan... Read more

Living Brands: How to avoid Marketing's 'Thud Factor'

Living Brands: How to avoid Marketing's 'Thud Factor'

Sadly, for many organisations, marketing is the job of the marketing department.... Read more

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Megatrends: Threats or Opportunities?

While businesses continually have to adapt and adjust to trends and challenges on a daily basis, many of these shifts take place on a local or regional scale. There are, however, what research group Frost & Sullivan define as ‘megatrends’ – which demand a very different and more strategic approach from business leaders. According to Frost & Sullivan,megatrends are ‘global, sustained and macro-economic forces of development that impact businesses, economies, societies, cultures and personal lives thereby defining our future world and its increasing pace of change.’ In the much anticipated 12th Barloworld Logistics supplychainforesight report - conducted by Frost & Sullivan - the key megatrends impacting (or predicted to impact) industry stakeholders were identified. They included technology innovation, the rise of African and Asian economies, device connectivity and Big Data, ecommerce and robotics – to name a few.  


More importantly, however, the survey sought to understand respondents’ views on the expected impact that these key emerging megatrends would have on their supply chains, businesses and industries.


“We wanted to understand if respondents saw the megatrends as threats or as opportunities,” explains Mark Cleeve-Edwards, Executive Marketing at Barloworld Logistics. “In both scenarios, significant organisational change to align with or to defend against these forces will be critical in the coming years.”


Positive Response to Megatrends

The first and arguably most important finding is that all the megatrends are viewed as opportunities…and less so as threats. Perhaps this should not be surprising, as South African business leaders have had to see through large scale change on numerous occasions – with many organisations emerging even stronger on the other side.


The breakdown of respondents by position and by industry show they identified the biggest perceived threat to be the rise of Asian economies, particularly for large and medium companies - possibly because they have a higher risk from competitive Asian companies and the growth of their markets.


Interestingly, the threat of Asian economies was perceived as the highest by supply chain executives and lowest by CEOs - which would indicate a need for a degree of consensus in order to embrace a strategy to be developed for such an opportunity or threat.


From an industry perspective, the construction and engineering companies rated the Asian Economies megatrend as a high perceived threat, perhaps indicating the influence Asian countries are having on infrastructure development projects, especially in East Africa.


The low ranking of 3D/4D printing and copying as an opportunity and also as a low ranking threat suggests that the implications of this technology have not been fully appreciated from a supply chain and logistics perspective.


“This trend has the potential to disrupt supply chains, with the possible scenario of consumers not having to go to a retail outlet to purchase certain types of products that traditionally would have been manufactured in a factory, stored in a warehouse and transported by road, rail, sea or air,” adds Cleeve-Edwards. “They will simply print the product at their place of choice, including in their own homes.”


Medical advances – and their impact on lifespans - have massive repercussions for disposable income and costs of caring for an unemployed, ageing population. In addition, the associated products and services that older generations will purchase will open up new opportunities as well as spur changes to current practices and activities. For example, companies in Japan are forecasting the sales of adult diapers to overtake the sales of baby diapers!


Another important finding was that robots and robotics ranked low as both an opportunity and as a threat, yet there is a great deal of powerful information about the impact robots and robotics will have on jobs in the near future. Many predict that labour intensive roles will be performed by robots far more effectively and efficiently - creating competitive advantage to those countries, industries and companies who embrace their usage. This major trend requires a review of employment policies and the education and skill sets required in a future ‘robotic enhanced’ world.


Respondents ranked the level of opportunity and threats at a similar level in almost all of the stated trends, which perhaps reflects that a more comprehensive understanding of these and related trends needs to be further explored.


“Countries, industries, companies and individuals need to fully understand and carefully assess which future trends are most applicable to them – and then develop detailed plans to prepare for and harness the opportunities they represent,” concludes Cleeve-Edwards.

Copyright © 2015 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. SALeader.co.za is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

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