Category

What’s New

FMCG

One Company’s COVID-19 Repsonse in the Caribbean – The FMCG Persepctive

By | Blog, COVID-19, News, What's New | No Comments
FMCG

By Fayola Nicholas, Director of Development Consulting, Advancement & Alumni Relations & Marketing Lecturer at UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business; DBA Candidate at Grenoble Ecole de Management

Main Article Points

  • Focus on employee’s wellbeing with guidelines to keep them safe
  • Stay close to consumers. Tune in to the ‘weak’ signals for early identification of shifts in demand
  • Build Capabilities and Leverage technology

Businesses and economies around the world have been affected by COVID 19. While governments still try to determine how to handle the health concerns and keep their citizens safe, there is far reaching economic impact with the world entering a global recession.  Private Sector has been impacted, and in the Caribbean we have not been immune.  The CEO of one Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association’s member organisation, an FMCG that operates in the Caribbean region, met virtually with the Project Team of Trinidad and Tobago Civil Society Organisations for Business.  The discussion centered on what has been the impact on their operation, how they continue to manage this exogenous shock and what advice would they give to other firms operating in the Caribbean environment.

Employee Wellbeing

The organisation’s priority has been the wellbeing of their employees.   Despite not having a formal work from home policy, the company’s policies allowed employees to balance their family responsibilities prior to Covid 19.  This has been part of the organisations move towards building an agile company. Their agility was built in with the flexibility to choose the physical location of work, whether it is one of the work spaces in the company or at home.  The policy also allowed employees to manage personal tasks during the workday and provided them with access to continue work at a later time, with the understanding that company objectives would still be met.  This corporate focus on agility and the practice of working from home, meant that the movement to work from home as a result of Covid 19,  was not a massive shift for the employees.

Initial employee concerns, at the announcement of the closure of business, were centered on how long the disruption would be.  The company’s focus was on the best way to support their employees and provide a safe working environment for them.  The CEO understood that “Everyone is in the same storm, but not everyone has the same boat.”  Therefore, people would have varying circumstances at home, which would impact their ability to work comfortably and safely.  The firm continued its commitment to being flexible and agile, by allowing employees take the ergonomic office chairs from their place of employment, to be used at home, and where required reimbursed staff for additional office equipment like printers and scanners. New guidelines were created for working at home to help ensure work life balance, by making it mandatory for employees take their lunch hour when most convenient to them and scheduling meetings so they do not begin before 9am and must end by 5pm.  

The CEO acknowledged that these practices should vary by company and industry. He continued to add that, “Working from home is based on trust, and the organizational policy at a group level measures output and performance for productivity, rather than the number of hours worked.  Having the correct performance management system helps determine if the team is able to deliver the objectives, which goes back to the recruitment process and hiring people based on values.”

Consumer Behavior

As a provider of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, the firm was greatly impacted by changes in consumer behaviour and had limited time to respond.   There were sharp increases in products related to health and hygiene, given the increased focus on handwashing and regular sanitation.  The restrictions on movement and closure of out of home food retailers, meant that most people spent more time cooking and eating  at home.  The increase in traffic to supermarket channels allowed them to observe some minor and major changes in consumer and shopper behaviors. While there was an increase in bulk purchases, shoppers preferred to purchase all items in one location, rather than visiting many retail locations to fulfill their shopping needs. This may have been as a response to the increased hassle of needing to line up and sanitise to enter each new shopping location. Alternatively, it could have been seen as the shoppers preference to reduce their risk of exposure, by visiting less locations to meet their home needs.

One major change was the move towards e-commerce by both the shoppers and the retailers.  Established retailers stepped into  e-commerce allowing customers to place orders online and collect items curbside at a convenient time.  This change allowed new retail players to enter the market.  The response from shoppers show that the market is ready for e commerce shopping channels for everyday items.  As a major player in FMCG, the organization has been proactive with their observation of online shopping  behaviour.  They have created a portfolio of product photos suitable for online retailers in addition to their traditional point of purchase marketing material.  While businesses have taken steps to return to normal,  the organization is looking at those small signals in consumer and shopper behaviour and believe that the first retailer to effectively and efficiently manage orders, payment and delivery could change the retail market space.  

Strategy

Scenario Planning and Business Continuity are now the buzz words of business as firms seek to stabilise their revenues and prepare for unexpected eventualities.  As an FMCG Multinational Corporation, this organization has approached scenario planning in a novel way. Rather than having 2-3 scenarios for which they prepare, the organsiation has focused on building internal capabilities to allow them to respond faster to market changes.

The strategy team has finetuned their ability to detect weak signals in shifts in consumer, customer and retailer behaviours, and ensure that they are agile  in their ability to make changes in their approach. The firm acknowledges their advantage of having major brands and alternate supply chain sources for the brands that the market knows and loves.  “Supply Chain is seen as being as important as Sales and Marketing.”, said the CEO, and the firm has invested in consumer demand and supply chain management systems to assist in monitoring their needs.

While other local firms may not have a wide variety of options for new sources of raw materials, the CEO sees that Trinidad and Tobago is best positioned in the English Speaking Caribbean, to provide for and meet the needs of the Caribbean.  Many regional firms are now faced with the problem of having their usual international supply chains interrupted.  As a manufacturing hub in the Caribbean, many local manufacturers must meet minimum order quantities (MOQs) for raw materials. Given the relatively small size of the Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean market, there are large stocks of raw material on hand, which the local manufacturers can now use to meet the needs of our regional neighbours.  Given Trinidad’s generally stable exchange rate to USD, the low cost of production and the MOQs, local firms should be ready to increase production and meet the regional surges in demand with ease, and at a price point that is competitive.

As firms re-open, the business community is aware of the dreary economic scenarios, both locally and internationally.  The CEO’s words of wisdom to local firms guide them to control expenses and manage their cash flows.  “Scale back, reduce and defer discretionary spend. Run your business as you run your household.”

As someone who has faced three recessions in the Caribbean and Latin America throughout his career, he advises that there should be long term and short term trade-offs.  “While reducing expenses, firms should look at long term investment in consumer communication, improving the route to market and ensuring that IT can support an agile company.”  Seek to improve payment terms and invest in capability building throughout the organisation.  It is important to invest in organizational capabilities, in a bid to be more agile. Capability building must include training, but it also includes  infrastructural capabilities, particularly IT.   Strong IT capabilities can be leveraged to reduce operational costs and provide employees with the tools to do their job, even while working from home.

As the CEO of a leading FMCG in the Caribbean, there is clear priority on what is important for their busines continuity.  First, have the employee’s wellbeing at heart, through guidelines that keep them safe whether they work at home or in office. Secondly, return to the basics and conserve cash, this organization is debt-free.  It is also important to look at changes in consumer signals, and support retailers as they also adjust to changing consumer and shopper needs.  Finally, ensure that company capabilities are agile and ready for market changes by leveraging technology .

UWI-ALJGSB’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan

By | Blog, News, What's New | No Comments

Following the actions which were required by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to protect the nation from the heavy impact of COVID-19. The Government sought the input from various sectors and subject matter experts on strategies to restart and rejuvenate the economy of Trinidad & Tobago post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alumni Board of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business initiated a call to our Alumni to put forward proposals, strategies and ideas which can contribute to the National Recovery Plan to boost the economy. These are the collated and developed solutions provided by the Alumni of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.

For the complete Recovery Plan:

Click here to download:

https://bit.ly/2Y7JC60

Click here to view/read: 

https://bit.ly/3d8i4l8

Statement from the UWI-ALJGSB on present and future operations

By | News, Uncategorized, What's New | No Comments

Dated: June 9, 2020

The UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB) wishes to assure past, present and prospective students that the institution is extremely strong financially, with a low debt to asset ratio. The School is however experiencing an operating cash flow challenge resulting from the reduction in revenue due to COVID-19 and more importantly the significant outstanding receivables of $20 Million owed to the School, consisting of GATE receivables of $14 Million and VAT refunds of $6 Million.

Notwithstanding these challenges, and in the interest of stability and progress, the key benefactor and other donors will continue to support the School now and in the future.  Restructuring plans for the School, which are now in progress, take into consideration: requirements of the new normal post-COVID-19, reformatting of programmes where necessary, organisational structure and ongoing training to continue delivering extraordinary learning experiences and outcomes. Once approved by the Board, these plans will be implemented before the end of the current academic year (August 2020).

Staff, students and alumni can continue to be assured that there is no reason to be concerned about the current or future operations of the School.

UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business

Online transition experience for Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business student

By | BISB, News, student testimonial, What's New | No Comments

Meet Nickolai Birjoo – a first-year student of the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business (BISB).

As a result of COVID-19 all students had to transition from face to face to online learning to facilitate the continuation of teaching and learning. This transition fortunately was smooth based on the technologies that Lok Jack GSB had in place. See below Nickolai’s experience for online learning.

To put it bluntly, the online learning experience, born from necessity, has been an easily accessible way to stay on top of my education throughout a time where there is no in-house option due to unforeseen circumstances. Quickly implemented, smoothly operated and dynamically adapted to the needs of the pupils – I would say my favourite part of the experience has been how continuous it has been, bridging the offline and online gap. Due to the administrative efforts of program advisors and the IT staff, I am able to work in a virtual class that is almost exactly the same as a physical one, kilometres away from the campus. The professors have not missed a step when issuing class work and interacting with their students, making it extremely easy to carry on with any given subject. Lok Jack GSB has really prepared for such an easy transition with three distinct online learning platforms, which each offer features that aid in the completion of the courses offered. All lecturers have been quite interactive with the students, an aspect of the online class that has not gone unnoticed. The access to such personal interaction has made some lectures more digestible for some students, which is a welcomed comfort for working in such a remote environment. It is as easy as holding a button when a student wishes to voice any opinions or concerns, another facet of classroom life that has not been sacrificed. I am truly impressed by how well the online lectures have been handled by the school, especially under such short notice.”

For more information on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business speak to Ms. Kersha Garner, Academic Advisor at 299-0218 ext. 200 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt. Visit the website here

Why is it a GREAT IDEA to pursue a Business Degree?

By | BISB, Blog, What's New | No Comments
Selecting a degree can be difficult, hence, you want to select something that can be valuable in the long-term as well as flexible in an instance where you want to switch fields. Check out five reasons why a degree in business is the best route of study below:
 
  1. It is a Practical Choice

Business majors have more job security than other majors because they are needed in virtually all industries. Whether in banking, manufacturing or, energy sector, all industries need people with business acumen to function and prosper. This will always keep the demand for business majors relatively high, even in tough economic times. 

  1. Learn Transferrable Skills

Business programs place a huge focus on teaching students the ability to think critically, problem solve in innovative ways, and manage their time logically, skills that you can apply in any job, business and even in your everyday life. 

  1. Combine your passions

Even if you don’t see yourself working as an accountant or finance manager, a degree in business can help you broaden your horizons and pursue your passions successfully. If you want to be your own boss and manage a successful business, you’ll need to know how to write a detailed and viable business plan, obtain financing for your business, track your profits and losses, and be comfortable with many other aspects of business management in order to keep your business profitable. This is, yet again, where experience in studying business can really come in handy in a practical way. 

4.Higher chances of landing a job  

Did you know that the average business student lands a job within six months of graduatingThat’s because there’s a huge demand for business graduates in today’s economy, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and the opportunities are widespread.

5. Broader options of specialization areas  

As a business student, if you enter into a business studies programme, you will have plenty of options for specialization. For example, you could specialize in management, marketing, human resources, accounting, or business finance. You could also choose to specialize in a specific industry such as the fashion industry or in the humanitarian non-profit sector. In general, business careers offer more opportunity for career advancement than other careers. With advancement comes salary increases, professional respect, an opportunity to challenge yourself, and many other perks as well. 

Check out the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business 

Alumnus of Master of Marketing guest lecture students of Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business

By | BISB, News, What's New | No Comments

Kristofer Granger, Alumnus of Master of Marketing programme guest lectured students of the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business in their Marketing Principles Course using Domino’s as an example. They were then treated with Domino’s at the end. 

 

To learn more on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business speak to an Academic Advisor today! Call 299-0218 ext. 200 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt 

Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business Student Ambassadors

By | BISB, News, What's New | No Comments

Meet the Student Ambassadors for the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business programme (BISB). 

From left, Mya Marie Berment,  Jeroam Des Vignes, Okera Duncan, Maryanna Samuel, Navindra Jaggernauth and Julia Harripersad. 

Student ambassador of the BISB programme are required to:

  • Be an exemplary student and adhere to the Business Schools’ code of conduct, behavioural and dress code policies
  • Maintain good academic standing with a GPA of at least 3.0 on cumulative coursework
  • Represent and participate in the Business Schools’ on and off campus events
  • Be knowledgeable of basic facts about the UWI-ALJGSB and the BISB programme
  • Promote the Business School and in particular the BISB programme
  • Contribute content to the Business Schools’ website and other promotional material

 

Benefits of being a student ambassador:

  • Build transferable skills such as: leadership, team work, problem solving, critical thinking, written and verbal communication, confidence and public speaking for future employment
  • Be able to use the experience gained on your resume to enrich career prospects
  • Be exposed to possible international opportunities

 

To learn more on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business speak to an Academic Advisor today! Call 299-0218 ext. 200 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt 

Online Technology

LOK JACK GSB IMMEDIATELY TRANSITIONS TO ONLINE OPERATIONS AMID COVID-19

By | News, What's New | No Comments
Online Technology

The UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (Lok Jack GSB) continues to be resilient during the COVID-19 outbreak. Effective on March 14, 2020, after the announcement by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Keith Rowley to close all places of learning, the Business School immediately activated its IT infrastructure to facilitate the transition of face-to-face classes to online for all students and Executive Education participants and actioned its remote access policy for staff, which allows employees and faculty to effectively work from home.

The health and safety of Lok Jack GSB’s employees, faculty, students and other stakeholders are of paramount importance. As such, the Business School ensured that it acted swiftly to prevent the continued spread of the COVID-19 and eliminated the possibility of any disruption to our services and the learning process of our students.

The technology being used by staff, which includes VPN access with Softphone (Avaya One-X), allows our stakeholders, to stay connected to the Business School. We remain easily accessible through our individual work emails and extensions, and via these general channels:

We ask persons to refer to our website and social media platforms for frequent updates on the school’s activities.  These channels will be used to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available.

We take this opportunity to thank specially the IT and METS staff for having the infrastructure ready and to all staff and students for their positive response to the shift in operations, as we join the global effort to preserve our safety and well-being.

We thank you for your continued support and urge you to stay abreast of the guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health.

Lok Jack GSB

About us: The Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business was established in 1989 as a joint venture between The University of the West Indies and the private sector of Trinidad and Tobago to provide postgraduate education in business and management. Today, Lok Jack GSB is recognised as the premier institution for the provision of business and management education, training and consultancy services in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region. The motto Innovatus Ars Ducendi, means Innovating the Art of Leadership.

###

International Guest Lecturers for Self-Awareness and Leadership course for Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business

By | BISB, Blog, What's New | No Comments
Students of the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business Cohort 2 got the opportunity to gain insights and engage with guests lecturers; Dr. Jo-Ann Flett, Organizational Consultant at Partners Worldwide,  Wayne, Pennsylvania, Fulbright Visiting Faculty and      Ms. Maria C Horning, Program Director, Geneva Global, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They covered content on Self-awareness and Leadership.

Learn more on BISB here: https://bit.ly/39Zcv7Q

 

 

X