To supplement the 10 questions provided in Issue 128 of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight, the following additional questions are offered to directors serving on boards of consumer products and retail companies:
- Have we evaluated our cash flow from operations and financing needs in view of alternative recovery scenarios? Based on our assessment, do we face any challenges with regard to meeting debt covenants? If so, have we requested waivers?
- How are we addressing the risk of supply chain disruption due to concentrated sourcing of critical products, materials, components and services? Are we considering implementing a holistic digital supply chain to reduce costs and automate the overall process?
- Are we prepared to develop an action plan in response to legislative or regulatory actions requiring sourcing from regional or domestic suppliers?
- Are we managing inventory effectively (e.g., solving cash/liquidity issues, managing spikes in product demand)?
- What have we learned about our organization as we have navigated the pandemic? How much more prepared are we for a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus, including a return to lockdown?
- What is our assessment of brand loyalty as the market emerges from lockdown?
- Have we assessed every aspect of the customer experience with our brand to ensure we are providing a safe environment from the customer’s perspective to do business with us, from initial engagement, to ultimate fulfilment, to after service?
- Are our customer service channels (e.g., call center, chatbox, email) providing a positive customer experience? How do we know?
- What are we doing to strengthen brand loyalty going forward as individual customer preferences and consumer habits become evident and evolve?
- Do we analyze feedback from social media and other venues regarding the customer experience, whether online or at retail stores, that would impact our brand image and reputation in the market? Are we capable of pivoting as customer and consumer behavior and consumption patterns change and evolve?
- Have we reimagined our operations to offer flexibility to customers and consumers according to their preferences (e.g., omnichannel/multichannel marketing; experiential retail; contactless fulfillment/check out; remote service options; and curbside, home or other delivery enhancements)? Should we reassess our B2B and/or B2C marketing model?
- Are our frontline employees trained to interact with customers and consumers safely and effectively? Are we assessing our employees’ experience to retain high performers and improve the health and safety of our work environment?
- How are evolving market expectations affecting our strategy regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters? Are we prepared to make the necessary adjustments to our strategy going forward?
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