Retailers need supply chain urgency – now
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
Our recent supply chain benchmark report underscores the many challenges retailers are facing getting products to consumers. What can retailers do, right now, to get ahead?
Our recommendations are as follows:
- Think ‘different’: Today’s supply chain is just not working. When the dust settles, survivors will share one thing: they will have thought differently about what’s required to get their execution up to snuff to meet growing consumer expectations. Turning around something so large and complex can seem daunting, but wide-scale progress comes with many small steps. These are not easy conversations and will vary wildly from one brand to another, but they must start to happen
- Trust your KPIs – or invest until you can: The ability to trust inventory-related information (accuracy, visibility, etc.) is rapidly approaching table stakes at this point, and retailers who cannot fulfill their end of the deal (having what the customer wants when she wants it) will rapidly fall off the scene.
- Don’t fear amazon: respect the consumer: Recognize that this isn’t about Amazon or any other mass merchant, for that matter. It’s what they have been able to offer the consumer that has enabled them to steal some of your sales. What did those shoppers prefer? If the answer is “free two-day shipping and we can’t do that,” find something else you can offer that Amazon can’t yet. Chances are you’ll come up with a list of things, and chances are even greater those things will involve your employees interacting with consumers.
- Take a risk: If the report proves anything, it’s that our industry simply cannot wait any longer to solve supply chain issues. As much as if not more than price, consumers have consistently told us that getting what they want exactly when they want it is chief among the things that matter to them. Moreover, a handful of powerful retailers that have recognized supply chain execution as “the next big thing” for several years now, and the work they’ve put in is about to pay dividends.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a lot of retailers are in denial about the urgent need to elevate their supply chains? What can retailers do to compete with the logistics might of Amazon, Walmart and other powerhouses? What should be retailers’ key priorities in upgrading the effectiveness of their supply chains?