- 17 Sep 2012
7 Top Retail Supply Chain Solution Requirements
The UK scene has changed dramatically over the past few years; with retailers keen to invest in new IT systems and omni-channel functionality, yet having to balance these developments with the tightened budgets. Below are some of the top requirements of retailers when looking to replace their supply chain solutions:
Return on Investment
Historically retailers highlighted this when looking for new solutions, but in some circumstances did not clearly identify what their return on investment (ROI) would be or how it could be achieved. For retailers today it is vital to gain commercial advantage from implementing a product.
Quality of Delivery
Retailers always want solutions delivered as quickly as possible because that’s the way their business works. However it’s therefore important that any software delivered is not only timely in the first instance, but also maintains certain standards of design and delivery accuracy because this means that subsequent implementation timetables can be adhered to and costs are contained.
Being part of a Community
Packaged solutions are key to being part of a community. Retailers are looking for positive roadmaps where they don’t feel that they are developing 100% of the product themselves. This means that they don’t bare the sole burden of cost for functional business driven changes being developed within the system.
Ease of Use
As IT systems develop, there is a tendency for them to become more and more complicated. There is a balance between providing rich functionality and actually losing the intended audience. Processes should appear simple to the end user, whilst maintaining required levels of complexity ‘under the covers’.
Underpinning the ability to make an order via the web are some important supply chain processes; the correct IT systems can ensure that stock is collected from as few locations as possible. Alternatively, systems can ensure that potential terminal stock is removed from the business, by looking at where the highest covers are. Whilst this may not be the most efficient delivery process, it is preferable to complete seasonal recalls or inter-branch transfers.
The requirement of fulfilling orders across multiple countries or continents means that stock availability within any IT systems must be up to date in order to maintain and improve customer expectations and relationships. The ordering process is very much out in the open domain, but the fulfillment and availability processes are again kept ‘under the covers’.
Many multi-brand retail groups are looking for uniformity of processes across their different brands. On the flip side, they do want to split their operations according to the different requirements of each brand. For example the way in which any IT systems allocate or, pick stock across different brands may be the same; however the way in which they fulfill or package stock for the separate brands might be different.
Do you agree with these retail supply chain solution requirements or do you have your own suggestions? Post your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.