Will outside recruits help fix Target’s supply chain?

Discussion
Photo: Target
Nov 09, 2016

Target has gone outside the company, once again, to find talent to help improve its supply chain performance. The latest hire, Shekar Natarajan, comes to the retailer from Walmart where he led a project testing drones in its warehouses.

Mr. Natarajan, who held the title of vice president of last mile operations, emerging sciences and operational excellence at Walmart, has been hired as senior vice president of network planning and operational design, a new position created at Target. His responsibilities will include “new automation and other technologies to enhance speed, accuracy and efficiency.” Mr. Natarajan will report to Arthur Valdez, Target’s chief supply chain and logistics officer.

“At Target, we are laser-focused on delivering our guests the products they want quickly, accurately and efficiently,” said Mr. Valdez in a statement. “Under Shekar’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll be better positioned to deliver with improved speed and precision. Additionally, his experience and skills in future-state supply chain network planning will be a tremendous asset as we further develop our capabilities for the future.”

Mr. Valdez, who came to Target after 16 years at Amazon.com, has been assembling a supply chain team since joining the company in March.

In July, Mr. Valdez hired Ben Cook as senior vice president, global logistics, inventory allocation and replenishment. Mr. Cook came from Apple where he was director, logistics and supply chain strategy.

“We need a supply chain that’s increasingly fast and precise,” said Mr. Valdez. “Ben’s expertise and proven track record in cutting cost and reducing complexity in the name of speed will be an incredible asset to our team.”

In August, Mr. Valdez hired Preston Mosier, a 10-year Amazon vet, as senior vice president, fulfillment operations.

“Bringing the online fulfillment function under a specialized leader will enhance our direct-to-guest operation,” he said. “Preston’s experience using technology and data to deliver smaller packages directly to consumers will help us continue building capabilities that will put product in guests’ hands even faster.”

Other recent VP additions to Target’s supply chain team include Kevin Vliet from Tesla and Sumesh George from Walmart, according to the Star Tribune.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where do you see the biggest challenges and opportunities for Target from a supply chain perspective? What will be the keys to addressing them? How long do you think it should be before Target begins to see significant results from its supply chain efforts?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The company needs to commit to higher service levels first, not just more speed and lower cost."
"Does anyone else find it humorous that Target is openly poaching high-ranking employees from Amazon and Walmart? Of course, I can’t blame them."
"My big concerns with Target and Walmart have always been lack of attention to the customer on the floor and empty shelves."

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5 Comments on "Will outside recruits help fix Target’s supply chain?"


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Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

I’m no expert on supply chain management, but it’s clear that Target recognizes a logistics problem when it hires executives from two of the best in the business — first Amazon and now Walmart. I also don’t know whether Target has spent competitively over the years on logistics (compared to its competitors) but this is a longstanding issue. One of the biggest problems that doomed Target Canada was its inability to keep the store shelves filled, and anybody who shops Target regularly sees plenty of empty pegs on a regular basis.

Target has long pushed the idea of inventory turnover at the expense of satisfactory in-stock rates. If their new hires can accomplish both goals, more power to them … but the company needs to commit to higher service levels first, not just more speed and lower cost.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest

I agree with you Dick. My big concerns with Target and Walmart have always been lack of attention to the customer on the floor and empty shelves.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust
Jasmine Glasheen
Principal Writer & Content Strategist, Jasmine Glasheen & Associates
5 years 6 months ago

Does anyone else find it humorous that Target is openly poaching high-ranking employees from Amazon and Walmart? Of course, I can’t blame them. Amazon is the one to beat in e-commerce, and with Jet.com offering new users 15 percent off their first three purchases and offering them 5 percent back into their Acorns portfolio, they’ll soon be coming up a close second.

It’s a good move for Target to invest in their supply chain (rather than produce). They haven’t even begun to compete with Amazon and Jet’s shipping speed. Three-to-five business days doesn’t cut it anymore, so it’s good to see Target doing what’s required to stay in the game.

Tom Redd
Guest

Target is doing what Walmart did. Total re-construction of a SCM platform that will assure that store inventory runs an the premium levels but operates in a JIT mode. Target will do this and also make sure that store service and assistance is available to shoppers … service levels for inventory and for shoppers.

Manmit Shrimali
Guest

Target has failed in the supply chain in the past and will continue to do in future if they don’t focus on the paradox of choice. This is not limited to just target but also other major retailers. One of the biggest problems is in the linear thinking — more products or variety at the right time will generate more sales. Indeed, this works exactly the opposite. Pushing supply chain to stock up or replenish shelves with wide varieties does not go well with consumers who are not intelligent at making choices from a complex set of options.

We live in an on-demand world where consumers want instant access while being served through multiple channels. Target needs to overhaul its thinking, particularly around purchase-point and customer destination based supply chain optimization. Gone are the days where supply chain analytics was using traditional SKU level data as main input.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The company needs to commit to higher service levels first, not just more speed and lower cost."
"Does anyone else find it humorous that Target is openly poaching high-ranking employees from Amazon and Walmart? Of course, I can’t blame them."
"My big concerns with Target and Walmart have always been lack of attention to the customer on the floor and empty shelves."

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