The pandemic has forced many manufacturers to look at new ways of getting their products to market, with traditional routes (shops, restaurants, etc) closed by lockdowns.

Smart companies have taken advantage of digital channels, such as Amazon or their own websites, to ‘cut out the middle man’ and sell directly. This has a potentially massive financial benefit: Barclays research from last year found that manufacturers could see a £24bn sales boost in the next three years by exploring direct-to-consumer models, and 57% of people now frequently shop from manufacturers directly – with a third saying they do so to help support UK manufacturing. Lee Collinson, head of manufacturing at Barclays, joins the panel to explore this survey and discuss some of the implications this has on the sector

One company that has already taken advantage of D2C channels is Swansea-based skin care manufacturer Montagne Jeunesse. They have seen sales soar since the start of the pandemic after shifting to selling via Amazon, with plans to embrace more D2C models going forward. The company’s finance director, Narin Ganesh, is on hand to tell us about their journey and the challenges they faced on the way.

For any manufacturer looking to establish new sales channels, getting the supply chain right – at both ends – to enable this is vital. With supply chains under increased scrutiny, now is a time to make sure they are robust and ready to take advantage of new, online opportunities. To help provide advice is Alex Hislop, Vice President of Retail & Consumer for the UK & Ireland at DHL.

The final panellist is Rob Sinfield, VP of product at the event sponsor, Sage. Rob explains how Sage’s products and technology can help manufacturers embrace the opportunities provided by disruption in supply chains, as they become increasingly lean and streamlined.