As a part of the virtual Grand Opening of SynFiny’s Eastern Europe region this month, the Eastern Europe partners, Natalia Vinagradova and Natalia Beketova, hosted a CEO Round Table via Zoom. The round table included 7 CEOs representing FMCG, retail, beauty, distribution and logistics, food, and technology industries. The guest speaker, Webster Shao, SynFiny partner of the Asia Pacific region, shared an interesting perspective that was very well received and appreciated by the participants. In addition to the Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe region being represented in the round table, our CEO and founder, Jeff Wuest, also added global and North American insight. We demonstrated our global perspective and expertise.

Topics that were discussed include current market perspectives and the economic situation we face, high-level issues, solutions that have succeeded, as well as current opportunities. To learn more about the details of the topics discussed and the perspectives shared, check out the conversation points below.

Economic Situation/Market Perspective

  • All segments are affected, with premium non-food retail suffering the most (ca-80%).
  • Weaker/less reliable players are driven out of business.
  • In case the lockdown will continue beyond June-July consumer purchasing power is likely to fall down dramatically.
  • Not clear what the post-crisis reality would look like.
  • Perspective from China – we should expect at least 2-3 months more of this and the recovery will not happen overnight.

High-Level Issues (Group)

  • Safety: ensuring that the organization is safe, in particular those engaged in production/delivery. Sourcing protective gears and safety equipment is a challenge. Over time the issue will likely become more severe as whole teams might get quarantined when 1 employee gets ill.
  • Organization: Many businesses have already sent people on unpaid leaves, reduced stuff and/or salaries. There will likely will be 2nd/3d waves of job reductions if lockdown continues part June. While working remotely and employee engagement have been so far ok for most, keeping it up will be more difficult longer term.
  • Cash issues: relevant for most, even the businesses that have are doing well have partners/supply chain that is affected.

What Has Helped/Worked

  • Daily emergency team meetings.
  • Focus on cash flow, activating BCP early on/careful planning of inventories and credit limits.
  • Learning from other regions, using tested and tried playbooks.
  • Supporting key long-term partners/supply chain.
  • Over communicating with their organizations, being open about the issues and choices.
  • Opportunities

M&A deals: are already taking off (either selling or buying) depending on the company

  • Government support: not clear how broad it will be and which segments it will cover. The government announced support for small/mid-size business in most affected areas (tourism, restaurant sector, non-food retail etc).
  • It is not clear whether the government will be able to do more given the falling oil prices. Business needs support and lobbying, joint effort will help.