It’s been said that one of the great keys to success is focus – a singular goal, a unified objective, a shared intention that informs every supporting activity. I couldn’t agree more. So, when it comes to achieving supply chain excellence, where is it that retailers need to put their focus in order to achieve success?
Step 1: Establish a firm foundation from which to execute
A recent survey of top North American retailers revealed that less than half operate on a single supply chain platform. While this statistic may not be surprising, it should give retailers pause for thought in today’s hyper-competitive market. The need for a path that supports a harmonized supply chain is clear. So why aren’t more executing a single, unified approach?
Step 2: Take control of your data – don’t let it control you
A long-standing top challenge for retailers? Data and how to manage it. Data and its sources and scale perpetually grow and are a huge part of understanding supply chain demand. Retailers must be able to scale to understand their data, across the entire business, and put it use as a competitive advantage in the market.
Step 3: Unify your technology to make it part of the solution rather than part of the problem
The rising efficiency of software and abundance of different solutions drive companies to snap up solutions from all kinds of providers – hardly a cohesive approach. Retailers need to evaluate which solutions will enable them to have a truly unified and scalable supply chain, rather than disparate systems that just add to their technology debt and complexity without solving core issues.
In my career, I’ve seen retailers with all different flavors of the same type of software from different vendors, even multiple systems in play for the same business process, resulting in users doing redundant work.
Future-proof the supply chain: AI does this and helps retailers make a big impact
Without the right technological foundation tying all supply chain processes together, obvious and subtle trends in the market are either completely missed or, at best, not addressed in a cohesive, systematic way.. This can lead to organizational silos and inefficiency. And without shared intelligence between groups, growth is more challenging, and breakdown in the supply chain is likely. AI not only adds insight and easily-to-understand next steps toward specific, measurable goals throughout the supply chain, it adds unparalleled speed and eliminates the constant need to update disjointed, siloed systems.
As a retailer, if you struggle to execute well because you are faced with too many decisions, or continually run up against forecast errors and out-of-stocks, then you must focus on aligning all supply chain processes on a singular platform. With one foundational layer – one point of visibility into the business – data is fluid throughout all supply chain solutions, eliminating duplicative work because all roles work together in sync, from one version of the truth.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it isn’t the reality for most of the industry today, but it can and should be.