You have been appointed to the position of supply chain manager for a retailer with shops in Europe and sources of supply in Asia. Develop a supply chain strategy for this company and detail the various factors that you would consider. You can choose the sector that the retailer operates in (e.g. consumer electronics, domestic appliances, clothing etc).
Retailers and their suppliers are under more pressure than ever before to deliver more goods to more destinations faster.
To stay competitive, “retailers need to know where things are at all times so they can redirect shipments, rebalance inventories and respond to new demands on the fly,” says Rich Becks, general manager, Industry Value Chains, E2open, which delivers cloud-based supply chain collaboration solutions.
And if there is a problem with their supply chain, and they can’t get products to stores and/or consumers, retailers (and their suppliers) risk losing customers.
So what steps can, and should, retailers take to make sure their supply chain operations are running smoothly? Following are four suggestions from retail supply chain experts.
1. Use cloud-based software that can track and manage inventory in real time. “Retailers struggle to balance uncertain consumer behavior and long, complex supply chains,” explains Kurt Cavano, vice chairman & CSO, GT Nexus, a supply chain technology company.
“These two challenges make it harder than ever to align supply with demand, which can quickly impact margins and sales,” Cavano says. “A solution to this is to implement a supply chain network in the cloud that tracks inventory and demand changes, and allows retailers to respond to the latest demand signals in near-real time.” This way, “retailers can adapt to things like seasonal trends and other fluctuations in demand on the fly.”