This past holiday season set some new records in many countries for the amount of online shopping activity that drove retail sales and delivery demands. More shoppers were willing to browse items online, purchase whenever and wherever, and expect prompt delivery in time for celebrations. Retailers were challenged to plan for the holiday rush accordingly, set up logistical schedules to accommodate more online shoppers and coordinate among managers to combat problems along the way. As retail supply chain management continues to evolve with changes in consumer demands and behaviors, so too does industry technology solutions.
Supply chain management solutions in the retail industry not only connect managers across the chain to improve communication and file-sharing capabilities, but also boost customer satisfaction. When a product is found to be out of stock, new demands significantly alter production and manufacturing, or a natural disaster has disrupted delivery paths, it is up to supply chain leaders to leverage IT solutions to correct errors or overcome obstacles.
Supply chain management can only be successful if all areas of operations are connected to a centralized information and communications source. From there, leaders can share data, engage in discussions and make swift decisions without spending time and money on travel and meetings. The faster and more efficiently retail leaders respond to industry changes and demands, the more successful the company will be and fluid supply chain operations will become.
Delivery becomes main focus
Supply Chain Standard explained the recent Christmas figures from retailers across the globe suggest that many supply chain managers have figured out how to handle common problems found in production and development stages of a product's creation. Some obstacles to efficient delivery still remain, however, particularly when deadlines are pending. In the U.K., for example, data indicates 225,000 parcels did not make it to their destinations in time for Christmas celebrations, despite the promise of prompt delivery. As the ecommerce marketplace continues to expand and more players enter new markets, retailers cannot maintain a strong consumer base if they make mistakes with shipping.
According to the source, many major companies are discovering online retail accounts for larger portions of their total business. Without supply chain management solutions in place, this percentage of customers may stop ordering from a company with subpar delivery success and spend their money on items from a similar seller with a more efficient distribution method. Retailers are in a highly competitive market that is relying more on IT solutions and automated processes each day. Therefore, neglecting to adopt the latest solutions can put companies at a disadvantage and eat away at market share.