No matter your job, for many of us, how and where we work has changed as a result of COVID-19. We’ve had to get creative, stay positive and think outside the box. For many of us, things have shifted predominantly digital, and will remain that way for quite some time. As a B2B marketer, I’ve had to think differently about how we engage and deliver our message.
Supply chains, of late, have made it into our mainstream conversations. Supply and demand. Inventory availability. Stocking and restocking. Manufacturing capacity. Workforce scheduling. Topics that supply chain pros discuss every day have become part of not only the daily news cycle but dinner table conversations. And now, more than ever, supply chain pros need a place where they can connect with each other to share mutual challenges and opportunities, discuss tactics, share successes and problem solve together to strengthen our supply chain community at this critical time.
Blue Yonder is lending a hand in that area. We recently hosted our first Virtual Supply Chain Happy Hour: Community Amidst the Chaos. This was a fun way for us to provide an informal setting for supply chain professionals, colleagues, partners and friends to gather to share stories of their experiences in navigating the supply chain ups and downs during this time.
In our first Happy Hour, we were happy to see more than 50 smiling faces from home offices, living rooms and backyards across the country. Hosted by my Blue Yonder colleagues JoAnn Martin and Shri Hariharan, experts in retail and manufacturing, respectively, the conversation flowed freely and felt uniquely familiar regardless of professional or personal backgrounds. The common message was clear: we really are all in this together.
Some common themes emerged during the 30-minute event, prominent among them was a message of philanthropy, perseverance, thoughtful planning, and hope. Following are a few things shared and some of my own thoughts on these themes:
Rapid response: Blue Yonder customers described how they’re taking preemptive measures such as setting forecasts to the previous week’s sales to try and balance supply with consumer demand. It’s amazing to watch companies pivoting so quickly to lessen the negative impact to their customers, their employees, their stakeholders and their organizations.
Giving cultures: Companies are making generous donations to COVID-19 funds to the tune of millions of dollars. Others are supporting local food banks to lift up their own communities. From a marketing perspective, I’ve seen more ads and received more communications pertaining to charitable activities in the past month. It speaks to the corporate culture and the heart of these organizations.
Stepping up to do what’s right: Production lines are being converted to make masks, gowns, and gloves, even with a reduced workforce. Despite dramatic decreases in sales and furloughed workers, companies are doing their best to do their part. In a time that feels uncertain and unstable, it’s refreshing to see so many rally around a common good.
Adjusting to the “new normal” at home: Internet bandwidth is being pushed to the limits with all family members home and online at the same time. Family pets are enjoying more time with their owners. And, everyone is more appreciative of technology and video conferencing to stay connected with loved ones. I am no exception, counting my blessings and keeping the perspective that I am not stuck at home with my family but that I am safe at home with my family.
Our virtual happy hour closed with well wishes for everyone’s health and safety. We toasted to the power of the human spirit and the tone was optimistic. We will get through this. I personally, am so proud to work for a supply chain company in a time when it feels more important than ever before. If you were not able to attend this Virtual Happy Hour, be on the lookout for the next Blue Yonder virtual event. We can’t wait to “see” you!