Edited and curated by: William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS)
For two weeks this month, I traveled on business to Italy, Spain, Holland and the United Kingdom in COVID-19 times. Read below for a report on this very interesting and unique trip in my 4+ decades of international travel.
Supply chain issues continue to impact businesses worldwide.
Words of Wisdom from Others
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.:, A. A. Milne
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”, Eleanor Roosevelt
“’Grit’ – Possessing the indomitable spirit, having a drive for achievement regardless of upbringing or situation. Earning success in the trenches through hard work.”, Etsy
Highlights in issue #39:
- Which Vaccine Passport App Should I Use?
- Italy Braces for Pasta Inflation Amid Soaring Durum Wheat Prices
- The rise of eastern Europe is a forgotten economic success story
- Costa Coffee dishes out 5% pay rise to 14,500 staff in return for pandemic hard work
- The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade
- China Stumbles – China’s economy is in the midst of a mid-year stumble
- Brand News Section: Baskin Robbins®, Costa Coffee®, Del Taco®, Pizza Inn®
Our Mission and Information Sources
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Our biweekly global business update newsletter focuses on what is happening around the worldthat impacts new trends, health, consumer spending, business investment, economic development and travel. We daily monitor 30+ countries, 40+ international information sources and six business sectors to keep up with what is going on in this ever-changing environment. Our GlobalTeam™ on the ground in 27 countries covers 43 countries and provides us with updates about what is happening in their specific countries. Please feel free to send us your input and sources of information. Our contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.
My First International Business Trip Since February 2020
Over the past ten days, I have travelled on business through Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. This meant taking 6 separate COVID tests and completing 10+ separate COVID-19 related forms for the four countries. The company we visited in the Netherlands even wrote a special letter stating that our visit was ‘essential business’ to ensure we did not have to quarantine in Amsterdam before we could meet. The multiple forms – mostly completed online – were needed not only to enter a country but to not have to quarantine because we come from a country with a fully vaccinated population of 53% (USA!) versus most EU countries and the UK which are 60-75% vaccinated. Despite higher vaccination levels, as of this date, none of the people from these countries are allowed to enter the USA!
On the positive side, everyone we met in the various countries were very positive about the future of their businesses, their economies and making new investments. Typical is a comment by EGS’ Spain Associate that Europeans are “learning to live with Covid-19 like the seasonal flu”.
Over my 4+ decades of doing international business and living in other countries I have seen numerous natural, economic and political disasters across all regions. But businesses tend to be forward thinking and opportunistic. That is certainly the case in much of the world we survey today. Having said that, certain parts of the world are recovering at different rates. Asia is still largely shutdown and/or suffering from pandemic challenges either real or caused by government inaction or mistakes. Vaccination rates in Asia Pacific countries average 15-30% including developed countries like Australia, Japan and New Zealand. Business shutdowns remain frequent, travel is very limited.
The Americas have also been slow to recover due to low vaccination rates and/or choosing the wrong ‘free’ vaccines to start with. Fully vaccinated populations are overall at a low level so far in this region. Middle Eastern countries are at 50+% vaccination levels and are reopening at an increasing rate. The winner so far in 2021 – and probably into 2022 – have been the European Union countries and the United Kingdom with higher vaccination rates and progressive business reopening policies. But even in this region airport traffic is between 30-50% of 2019 levels. As stated above, country entry policies and requirements are high.
Bottom Line: After my trip and as a result of communication with our Team around the world I am very optimistic about business recovery in 2022.
Interesting Data and Studies
“Mapping The Biggest Companies By Market Cap in 60 Countries – Tech giants are increasingly making up more of the Fortune 500, but the world’s biggest companies by market cap aren’t so cut and dry…..The world has 60+ stock exchanges, and each one has a top company. We looked at the largest local company, since many of the world’s largest firms trade on multiple exchanges, and converted market cap to USD.”, Visual Capitalist, September 16, 2021
Supply Chain – Worldwide Issues
“Supply chain crisis will leave permanent scar, UPS warns – Delivery group’s international head says manufacturing and assembly will become more regional. multinational retailers and manufacturers were making a “big push” towards regionalising their supply chains, said Scott Price, president of UPS International.”, The Financial Times, September 13, 2021
“Ikea (UK) struggles with supply problems due to driver shortage – Furniture giant Ikea is struggling to supply about 1,000 product lines as a shortage of HGV drivers continues to hit businesses. The company said the shortage of products, including mattresses at some stores, was down to Covid and Brexit. Businesses ranging from flu vaccine suppliers to food and drink firms have also been suffering from supply issues.”, BBC News, September 5, 2021
“‘Just Get Me a Box’: Inside the Brutal Realities of Supply Chain Hell – Logistics managers are battling the pandemic, a labor shortage, and huge demand to get goods to your front door. It’s mid-August, and logistics manager RoxAnne Thomas’s phone won’t stop pinging. Her faucets, sinks, and toilets are waylaid near Shanghai, snagged in Vancouver, and buried under a pile of shipping containers in a rail yard outside Chicago. As U.S. transportation manager for Gerber Plumbing Fixtures LLC, a unit of Taiwan’s Globe Union Industrial Corp. that’s based in Woodridge, Ill., Thomas is trying to overcome the biggest shock wave to unsettle global trade since the dawn of container shipping almost seven decades ago.”, Bloomberg, September 16, 2021
“Why skippers aren’t scuppered. Supply chains are adapting, not failing…..firms are neither twiddling their thumbs nor abandoning global supply chains. Instead, they are improvising. Some retailers, like Walmart, have taken to chartering entire ships exclusively for their own cargo. Passenger aircraft are being refitted for freight…..Soaring shipping fees themselves help adjust the flow of goods. Higher freight costs scarcely affect the price of expensive electronics which can be crammed into containers, but matter more for bulky, low-value goods like garden furniture.”, The Economist, September 18, 2021
“M&S closes French stores over supply chain concerns – The company has a further nine franchised stores in partnership with Lagardère Travel Retail in airports and stations, which it said would continue to trade pending discussions over ‘a sustainable future business model’. At its full-year results in May it confirmed that the “lengthy and complex export processes” after Brexit were “significantly constraining” supplies from the UK to Europe, with a knock-on effect on performance.”, The Times of London, August 24, 2021
Global, Regional & Local Travel Updates
“UK Aviation Industry Welcomes Revision of International Travel Restrictions – The U.K. government will abolish its much-maligned “traffic light system” for international travel to England starting in early October. In an announcement released on Friday, the government said it will replace the current system that has been in effect since May 17 with “a single red list of countries and territories and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world.” In recognition of the vaccination rollout around the world, travellers who meet the U.K. definition of “fully vaccinated” will not be required to undertake expensive PCR tests upon arrival and in some cases departure to destinations.”, Airline Geeks, September 19, 2021
“Which Vaccine Passport App Should I Use? While you might have first heard of coronavirus vaccination apps for international travel, like the European Union’s Green Pass or airline-favorite VeriFly, the United States has not designated any one technological standard for proof of vaccination. While many destinations and businesses are accepting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccination cards as proof of vaccination, it can be unnerving to walk around with your original coronavirus vaccine certificate. For those who want a digital option instead of always whipping out their vaccine card, there are plenty to choose from.”, Conde Nast Traveler, September 2, 2021
“Emirates Airlines: 3,500 New Employees for Operations Ramp Up – If you are looking for a job in the air transport sector Dubai (DXB) is the place to go as Emirates Airlines (EK) is offering 3,000 positions to future cabin crew and 500 to frontline personnel to be employed in its DBX hub.”, Airways Magazine, September 19, 2021. (Editor’s note: I saw an Emirates 380 take off from Heathrow on September 19.)
“Indian Recovery Continues With Domestic Capacity Increase – The Government of India provided some relief to Indian airlines, announcing that domestic flight capacity has been increased to 85% of pre-COVID levels. The decision comes as COVID cases in India fall and demand for air travel grows steadily.”, Simple Flying, September 20, 2021
Global Vaccine Update
“Asia’s Covid-19 Success Stories Warily Ponder Post-Vaccination Moves – As vaccination rates climb, countries such as Singapore and South Korea consider how fast to ease strategies that have minimized infections and deaths. Widespread vaccination was meant to usher in a long-awaited march back to normal. But for Asia-Pacific countries that tamed Covid-19 by enforcing tight controls, entering a post-vaccination world is complicated.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2021
“43.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 5.95 billion doses have been administered globally, and 28.87 million are now administered each day. Only 1.9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.”, Our World In Data, September 20, 2021
“Tracking EU Vaccination – The European Union recently announced that 70% of adults in the bloc were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, thus achieving the goal Brussels established at the beginning of this year. This milestone makes the European Union one of the most successful political entities in the world in terms of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines…..vaccination rates are well below the average in some member states, especially in Eastern Europe.”, Stratfor, September 6, 2021
Country & Regional Updates
“Argentina 2021 economic growth forecast raised to 7.2% – central bank survey – inflation in 2021 is seen at 48.4%, 0.2 points percentage above last month’s estimate, according to 42 respondents to the Market Expectations Survey (REM) by the Argentine central bank on Aug. 27-31. Latin America’s third-largest economy has suffered from high inflation for several years and has been in recession for three years. These economic woes deepened since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.”, Reuters, September 4, 2021
“Australians urged to plan ahead for Christmas shopping amid ‘dramatically bad’ global supply chain crisis. Covid shutdowns of major international ports are putting extreme pressure on retailers to fill orders and keep shelves stocked. The “dramatically bad” global supply chain situation in Asia could also see major Australian retailers dumping Black Friday sales as they are left with limited stock.”, The Guardian, September 4, 2021
“Jim’s Group gives free merchandise to fully vaccinated Australians – Iconic franchising company Jim’s Group has some special freebies lined up for all Australians who get themselves double vaccinated against Covid-19. Chief executive Jim Penman announced via the company’s TikTok account on Monday that the company would be distributing a one-of-a-kind shirt and bucket hat for fully vaccinated Aussies.”, New.au.com, September 7, 2021. Compliments of Jason Gehrke, Franchiseadvice.com.au
“China Stumbles – China’s economy is in the midst of a mid-year stumble. That was confirmed Wednesday when data showed retail sales growth slumped in August and both industrial output and investment also slowed. The big question: Is this a hiccup for an otherwise healthy economic recovery, or is the unrelenting regulatory crackdown taking a toll? The answer: It’s a bit of both.”, Bloomberg, September 15, 2021
“UBS: China’s consumer spending to grow by US$5.3 trillion in the next decade, driven by female consumers. A recent UBS report suggests that consumer spending in China is expected to grow by US$5.3 trillion in the next 10 years. As the income of women continues to increase, they will become the key driver of the consumption boom. UBS predicts that the jump in China’s household consumption in the next decade means that China will contribute about 27% of global consumption growth by 2030, compared with 19% for the US.”, Fung Business Intelligence, September 16, 2021
“The rise of eastern Europe is a forgotten economic success story – While the west focuses on political backsliding, manufacturing prowess is propelling the region forward. Today eastern Europe shares with east Asia the one proven key to long-term growth: manufacturing prowess. Because it can generate regular export income, which can be reinvested in new factories and roads, manufacturing can become a self-sustaining growth engine.”, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2021
“Foreign direct investment into India to stay robust – Deloitte survey – International investors remain confident of India’s short- and long-term growth prospects and are readying plans to make additional and new investments in the country, according to a survey of 1200 business leaders released by Deloitte. The survey conducted at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic showed 44% of the respondents across the United States, UK, Japan, and Singapore said they were planning additional or first-time investments in India.”, Reuters, September 14, 2021
“Italy’s economy could grow this year by more than 5.8% and post better than estimated deficit and debt ratios, Economy Minister Daniele Franco said on Sunday. Since April, the outlook has gradually improved and Italy’s parliamentary budget watchdog (UPB) said last month it expected the country’s economy to grow by 5.8% in 2021. ‘A strong recovery is underway and we cannot exclude that the GDP growth will be stronger than estimated by UPB,’ Franco said. ‘It is important that the recovery is quick, but the most important challenge is achieving a structural stronger growth.’”, Reuters, September 5, 2021
“Italy Braces for Pasta Inflation Amid Soaring Durum Wheat Prices – ‘Our family has been in this business for 110 years, but we have never experienced a situation like this’, Giuseppe Ferro, chief executive officer of La Molisana SpA, one of the country’s biggest pasta producers, said in an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore on Friday. According to Ferro, big pasta producers are already rushing to stock grain, which can be stored for up to two years. Still, he says, wheat semolina, which is essential for pasta making, cannot last longer than a month.”, Bloomberg, September 10, 2021
“Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate – With more than 53,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered on Saturday, 73.1 per cent of eligible Kiwis have now had at least one jab. In Auckland, 78 per cent of those eligible have had their first dose. Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield was the first to publicly voice a vaccination target of 90 per cent and NZME – publisher of the NZ Herald – has thrown the weight of its print and radio offerings behind this cause with The 90% Project.”, NZ Herald, September 19, 2021
“As Singapore pauses reopening, experts suggest ‘bolder’ COVID-19 strategy – Singapore is ramping up COVID-19 testing and has warned it would not rule out reimposing tighter curbs as infections rise – moves some experts see as too cautious for the vaccine frontrunner that is preparing to live with the virus as an endemic disease.”, Reuters, September 9, 2021
“Appetite for eating out hits retail sales in August – Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, the forecasting body, said that the decline in retail sales was a sign that “spending patterns continue to normalise” after most restrictions were removed on July 19. People holidaying in Britain over the summer made the most of being able to eat out and spend their money on experiences again.”, The Sunday Times of London, September 18, 2021
“UK inflation posts record jump to hit 9-year peak in August – Britain’s inflation rate hit its highest in almost a decade last month after a record jump that was largely fuelled by a rebound in restaurant prices which were artificially pushed down a year ago by government subsidies.”, Reuters, September 15, 2021
“Two in five British businesses are struggling to find workers – Almost a third, 30 per cent, of hospitality businesses said that vacancies were proving more difficult to fill than normal. Official estimates suggest that about 100,000 EU citizens left the UK during the pandemic and the migrant workforce has not recovered to its pre-pandemic size. This has constrained the supply of labour, as has the absence of almost 2 million people who are still on furlough and high levels of economic inactivity among young people, who are disproportionately represented in hospitality jobs.”, The Times of London, September 13, 2021
“Factories remain optimistic despite supply disruptions – Supply chain issues continue to drive up input prices for Britain’s manufacturers but factories remain optimistic about their prospects and the outlook for jobs. The manufacturing purchasing managers index for August dipped to 60.3 from 60.4 in July, dropping to its lowest level in five months, but was well above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.”, The London Sunday Times, September 1, 2021
“(US) Retail Sales Rebound in August With 0.7% Gain – Consumers delivered an unexpected increase in sales despite the delta variant and supply-chain bottlenecks that have hurt auto production. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that retail sales rose 0.7% last month after a revised decline of 1.8% in July. Sales rebounded even though purchases of motor vehicles fell 3.6% amid a global semiconductor shortage that has slowed production. Online retail sales surged 5.3% after tumbling 4.6% in July.”, CFO.com, September 16, 2021
“Sentiment Index Shows Record High (USA) Startup Intentions Within Six Months – Entrepreneurs who agree or strongly agree that “now is a good time to start a business” were 67.9% in August, up slightly from July, but down from the record level of 76.9% reached in June 2021. Nonetheless, a record 78.2% aspiring owners anticipate starting their businesses within six months. FranchiseInsights.com compiles monthly the Small Business Startup Sentiment Index™ (SSI) of individuals who have recently inquired about businesses for sale.”, Franchiseinsights.com, September 8, 2021
“Where Americans Live – Everyone gets a dot. You get a dot. And you get a dot. And you. – Each dot represents a person — 331,449,281 of them — and is randomly placed within their block. So you get a highly granular map of population density.”, Flowingdata.com, September 19, 2021
“SpaceX Launch of Inspiration4 Is a Giant Leap for Space Tourism – SpaceX successfully launched four civilians into space Wednesday evening in the first spaceflight staffed wholly by commercial astronauts—that is, not a government-backed crew—to orbit Earth.”, Barron’s, September 16, 2021
“Covid restrictions force some retailers to rethink Vietnam as a manufacturing hub – Prolonged shutdowns in Vietnam because of the coronavirus pandemic are becoming a bigger headache for retailers. The worries led Wall Street research firm BTIG to downgrade shares of Nike last week, citing serious production issues since the sneaker maker last reported earnings.”, CNBC, September 16, 2021
“Baskin-Robbins Opens in Casablanca, Its First Restaurant in Morocco – Baskin-Robbins has opened its first-ever restaurant in Morocco, in Casablanca City. Galadari Ice Cream Company, one of the brand’s largest franchisees, will own and operate the new restaurant, adding to their portfolio of nearly 1,000 Baskin-Robbins locations around the world.”, Franchising.com. September 17, 2021
“Costa Coffee dishes out 5% pay rise to 14,500 staff in return for pandemic hard work – The company also says it will hire a further 2,000 staff to cope with rising demand for coffee following the end of lockdown restrictions in July. The changes will not affect staff working at Costa’s 1,200 franchised coffee shops. The company also said it would hire a further 2,000 staff to cope with rising demand for coffee following the end of lockdown restrictions in July – and a raft of new locations that are slated to open in the coming months.”, Sky News, September 9, 2021
“Leading Mexican QSR+ Chain Leaps Forward with Advanced Consumer Focused Technology – Del Taco®, the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant, has introduced its new loyalty app, Del Yeah! Rewards, in partnership with Cheetah Digital. The new app will offer an engaging reward platform where guests can earn more free food, experiences and more and level up in the app’s new tiered system. The new Del Yeah! Rewards loyalty program features four tiers that unlock exciting offers, rewards and experiences, which increase along with usage of the app.”, Franchising.com, September 16, 2021
“Pizza Inn Inks Multi-Unit Franchise Agreement in Palestine – Pizza Inn has announced an international development agreement with Principal Partners Ziad Suwan and Ibrahim Sawan of Z.I.S. General Trading Company, who will open three new locations in Palestine. The first store is projected to open in the city of Ramallah/Nablus in March 2022.”, Franchising.com, September 18, 2021
Articles & Studies About Doing Business Going Forward
“Creating Healthy Boundaries Between Family And Business – Whether directly or indirectly, a family has an impact on the business’ ability to be successful, profitable, and very importantly, scalable…..We get a lot of questions about how to create boundaries between family and business. What we usually get asked first is if there is a way to create a separation between family and business.”, Franchising.com, September 2021
“The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there will be 11.9 million new jobs created from 2020 to 2030, an overall growth rate of 7.7%. However, some jobs have a growth rate that far exceeds this level. In this graphic, we use BLS data to show the fastest growing jobs—and fastest declining jobs—and how much they each pay.”, Visual Capitalist, September 13, 2021
William (Bill) Edwards, CFE, is CEO and Global Advisor of Edwards Global Services (EGS). He has 4 decades of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience and has lived in 7 countries. With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Europe and the Middle and Near East. Mr. Edwards advises a wide range of companies on early to long term global development of their brands.
Bill recently was published on Franchising.com in an article about how global franchise supply chain management is critical for international success. Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/3io0BuK
Edwards Global Services, Inc. (EGS) provides a complete International solution for companies Going Global. From initial global market research and country prioritization, to developing new international markets, providing in-country operations support and problem solving around the world. Our U.S. based executive team has experience living and working in many countries. Our Associate network on the ground overseas covers 40+ countries. EGS has twice received the U.S. President’s Award for Export Excellence.
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For global market research, operations and development support across 40 countries, contact Mr. Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 949 224 3896.
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