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Why Canada’s consumer product companies must stay focused on long-term growth

Food for thought, Spring 2009


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In the midst of a challenging economic environment, companies sometimes tend to sacrifice long-term strategic growth for short-term corrective action. Yet, if history is any indicator, taking your eye off the ball for any length of time could be a mistake. To be sure, consumer product companies must respond to prevailing market trends. At the same time, they must continue to execute on their longer-term objectives if they hope to emerge from the current crisis unscathed.

Six issues that should remain top of mind
In this edition of Food for thought, we outline six key issues that organizations must continue to address in the coming months and years. Derived from a survey of senior Canadian industry executives, these issues highlight the ongoing importance of remaining responsive to evolving consumer preferences, creating optimal staffing structures and fostering stronger customer relationships. Additionally, companies working to gain competitive advantage will also need to take a more strategic approach to regulatory compliance, identify strategic acquisition opportunities and learn how to more effectively brand their products in global markets.

Making operational adjustments
In addition to these six issues, organizations working to position for the future need to take a hard look at their current operations to ensure they are optimally placed to thrive in an evolving marketplace. A key area of focus highlighted in this issue of Food for thought includes the importance of adopting sustainable strategies to drive business improvement. On the corporate responsibility front, companies are beginning to explore innovative ways to embrace sustainability. One approach involves adapting Lean manufacturing programs to become Lean-and-clean. As this article explains, companies that move in this direction stand to accomplish more than reducing their carbon footprint. They also stand to benefit from enhanced processes that will position them to better comply with new regulations as they emerge.

In addition, this issue of Food for thought includes:

  • Tips for enhancing the success of your sustainability initiatives
  • Strategic solutions to help you minimize your indirect taxes by building a tax-efficient supply chain
  • Highlights of financing activity in the fourth quarter of 2008
  • Highlights of M&A activity for the fourth quarter of 2008

About Food for thought
Food for thought is a bi-annual newsletter produced by Deloitte's Corporate Finance group. It addresses issues relevant to food processors and retailers in Canada.