These are five of the areas the folks at the IGD believe forward thinking businesses will have on their list of supply chain priorities in 2015.
Technology helps ensure consistency across the organization, and makes it easier to analyze sales and identify the changes most likely to boost them.
1. Building multichannel capability
A lot has been said about supply chains adapting to online, click and collect, multi and omnichannel.
If you’re a retailer it’s easy to get a handle on what you need to do. The same is not necessarily true if you’re a supplier. This year retailers need to be really explicit about what they need from manufacturers to realise the growth these new channels promise. Suppliers need to be proactive about working with their customers to understand what needs to be done.
This is likely to include packaging formats, delivery locations, order size and frequency, channel focussed ranges, understanding promotional mechanisms and demand drivers by channel.
2. Moving from demand planning to sensing
The rapidly changing environment of lead times, customer expectations and working capital pressure, combined with a much more complex physical supply chain means that the old methods of predicting demand just won’t cut it anymore.
This year businesses will be focusing on making their processes more dynamic by increasing the frequency of forecast production and using many more data sources.
This type of super responsive planning is often called demand sensing and will increasingly become the norm through this year and beyond.
3. Responsiveness (and learning to love changes)
A bit of catch all this one, but it’s what all supply chain strategies are setting out to deliver. If what you’re doing this year doesn’t enable you to better meet late changes to requirements then you may want to rethink your plans for the year, or your competitors could well do it for you!
Our work shows that shoppers want a greater choice of product, accessed through more channels. They are more price sensitive and less tolerant of poor availability than ever before.
This is not just about systems and processes. It’s about how all the steps in the chain work together and about mind set – seeing changing plans as opportunity, not aggravation.
4. Focussed inventory targeting
2015 will see a real push on inventory levels without slowing the progress being made on availability.
This will come from a more intelligent approach being taken to how on-shelf availaiblity is targeted. The focus will be on the categories that are the key demand drivers at a particular time, allowing stocks in other categories to be cut until demand levels rise.
This strategy is dependent on the other things being really effective – demand planning, having an effective network and overall supply chain responsiveness
5. Tuning network capability
Being able to meet changing demand quickly from a lower stock base means both retailers and manufacturers having physical distribution operations that can pick and move stock very quickly.
For manufacturers it will be about consolidating stock holdings and late customisation to make it suitable for more customers and markets. These centralised stock holding locations need to be supported by networks of stockless cross-dock operations that can quickly build customer and store orders and make the final delivery.
These priorities are closely linked, and as the supply chain becomes more tightly strung, keeping each of these areas in balance will be necessary to deliver success.
Improvement is also getting harder to find, which means the days of quick and easy opportunities have long since passed, and delivering real improvements are likely to need significant structural change.
Acumatica, recognized the need to keep things simple. Given the intricacies already inherent in the retailer’s operations, offers a series of metrics in the reporting as well as planing tools that will benefit and enhanced the ability to identify inefficiencies in existing retailers processes, and have empirical data that support the need to change them.