Retail supply chains must be fast, agile


fast and agileSupply chain management efforts have been challenged in the past few years, as retail companies combat an uncertain economic climate, fickle consumer confidence and increased natural disaster disruptions. With a growing number of obstacles preventing supply chains from running processes smoothly from start to finish, supply chain managers are turning to automated solutions to keep track of assets and operations without disrupting workflow or overreaching budgetary restrictions.

Through the use of supply chain management software solutions, retailers can remain flexible in the face of environmental and industry changes. This will allow them to put strategic plans and levers in place to make adjustments when problems occur. Likewise, the solutions also accelerate the speed of processing and workflow, as decisions are made faster through increased connectivity and communication between managers. E

xecutives can monitor all operations from a centralized location, share information with other leaders in real time and collaborate remotely with instant access to data. The ability to identify changes in the industry when they occur, research a solution from any location and make a decision on the go will help retailers maneuver around current obstacles and remain competitive in the market.

Volatile market underscores value of software
In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of supply chain management best practices worldwide, there was a clear distinction between supply chains that were overperforming and those that were underperforming in terms of financial activity and operational efficiency.  
Industry leaders are adopting IT solutions and automated software to make supply chain management faster and more efficient. The strategies include customizable solutions that meet the unique needs of each company and can be scaled up as the business grows. A scalable set of IT solutions will help retailers remain flexible in the current economic climate, ensuring they do not surpass budgetary allowances when investing in new technology and resources.

Nearly half of the supply chain leaders surveyed said maintaining communications and file sharing between branches throughout the chain should be part of strategic planning. As retailers launch ecommerce platforms and look to expand into new markets worldwide, automated solutions must be in place to allow growth without a hefty price tag. Supply chain management technology works with users to handle mundane tasks that may normally be done through manual input to free up time and reduce human errors. Likewise, the technology creates a bond to keep all components of the chain connected so there are no costly delays or cancellations as a result of disjointed branches.