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Editor's Note: Is There a “Better Normal” Ahead?

The global pandemic has brought into focus the rise of e-commerce, including in the food and beverage industry, and the importance of the life sciences sector, while also redefining workforce.

Q4 2020
As we head into 2021, the coronavirus pandemic is still with us, with hopes for a soon to be released effective vaccine sending the stock market — and our hopes for a return to “normalcy” — surging. Meanwhile, the pandemic has brought into sharp focus several industry sectors that we turn our attention to in this issue.

COVID-19 accelerated the rise in e-commerce. In the U.S., online shopping increased by 30 percent in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, presenting real estate and labor challenges ahead. With consumers expecting faster deliveries, supply chain decision-makers are looking deeper into urban and suburban areas to set up “last-mile” facilities.

E-commerce has also surged in the food and beverage industry, with the coronavirus pandemic changing how we shop for food — and even where we eat. With people avoiding dining out, more food is being bought for cooking at home, and consumers are ordering it remotely and having it shipped so they won’t even need to venture into the grocery store.

And, needless to say, COVID-19 has brought the life sciences sector to the forefront. Recent geopolitical and economic trends have caused concern about overseas production of pharmaceuticals. In fact, a presidential Executive Order signed in August aims to accelerate the development of “essential medicines” domestically.

Also included in this issue is our annual Workforce supplement, in which we look at how the workforce will be defined in a post-pandemic world, as well as how industry can find and retain the skilled workforce it needs now and into the future.

This has been a year like no other. We will continue to bring you insightful articles in 2021 to meet the needs of growing your company as we look ahead to what some are now calling not just a “new normal,” but a “better normal.”

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