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Volatility has a face in the retail and consumer goods industry. It’s not the face of disaster – of floods or fires. Rather, it is the face of the consumer. The anywhere, anytime, globally connected, geographically dispersed, always-in-the-channel consumer.

Rapidly changing and often unpredictable consumer buying behavior, enabled by the internet, mobile communications and growing spending power, has made volatility and complexity the norm rather than the exception in the retail and consumer goods industry. It has fragmented sales channels, escalated service demands, shortened product lifecycles, ratcheted up cost and margin pressures and created production challenges. Add changing demographics, rapid growth in emerging markets and the rise of the global middle class – and you have the definition of uncertainty.

But there’s another wild card at work in the retail and consumer goods industry – the ‘big-bang disrupter’ syndrome.

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