“If you don’t like the weather right now, just wait a few minutes.” This old saying about New England winters can also be applied to the retail supply chain.
New challenges develop from every conceivable angle that have basically made the trusty old spreadsheet method of supply chain management obsolete. With today’s supply chain logistics spread across the globe, retailers need to be aware of everything from political changes and trade policies, to the constant shifts in technology that affect everything from a customer’s order to product delivery.
Here are seven tips retailers can use to weatherproof, or modernize supply chain operations:
1. Get past the nerdiness
In retail, merchandising and marketing are usually the departments that get all the attention and the best offices. Supply chain? Aren’t those guys in the basement next to information technology? Making sure you have an outstanding supply chain team that’s using the latest in software and lean inventory practices will ensure your company’s merchandising and marketing efforts won’t be in vain.
“Since the internet disrupted retail, the job of the supply chain manager has changed dramatically,” says Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey, an Austin, Texas, firm that offers supply chain software for retailers.
“You’re not just looking for the cheapest method to get products from factory to warehouse to store. You’ve become an integral part of the customer experience since the only two times a customer might interact with your brand is when they place the order and when it shows up at their door.”
While the supply chain staff is probably aware of their critical role within the retailer’s operations, Taylor says it’s essential to make sure the entire organization is conscious of how the chain works. “No one is in the background anymore. The more your people have an awareness that everybody needs to be engaged in the customer experience, the better it makes your supply chain,” he says.
This article was originally written for “Digital Commerce 360” by John Morrell on May 26, 2018.