Beyond best practices in retail chain managementAre you trying to nail down retail supply chain management best practices and apply them to your own business? Best practices are useful guidelines. But what works for Apple might not apply directly to the goals of your company. Choosing SCM solutions is like trying to choose the best car. It’s not about how good the car is — it’s about how well the car works for you and your needs.

Success in supply chain management comes when you thoughtfully implement proven solutions with your own company's core values, specific processes and long-term strategies.

So what are the majority of retailers seeking? Ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance customer service through efficient supply chain management. These are the five areas to focus on when choosing strategies and solutions to take your company’s SCM to the next level.


Embrace Technology

Most retailers find their major cost and productivity issues come down to the basics: manual processes, data inaccuracies, and disparate systems. And that’s why most emerging advancements in supply chain management solutions tend to be technologies aimed at delivering substantial improvements in performance.

Technology won’t solve all your problems — but it can dramatically improve your performance and address many of your pain points. With more accurate data and a faster way of transmitting these data, information technology can increase the speed of your retail supply chain activities — enable you to respond quickly to customer changes and other sources of supply chain.

Collaborate

But before you rely too heavily on SCM technology, you must develop organization and control within your supply chain relationships. Supply chain management technology is most effective when you have the ability to control your logistic providers and trading partners.

Understanding the capabilities of your supplier, particularly how they respond in a crisis, can greatly increase your own response time to changing demand. Make sure you work with your supplier to establish lead times, burst capacity, standard capacity, and quick-turn capabilities.

It’s also important to integrate processes with your suppliers by sharing knowledge and innovation, which can help you improve forecasting and merchandise planning activities, and reduce cycle times and inventories.


Outsourcing

Your core strategic activities should be your primary focus, both financially and strategically. Outsourcing even just a few your supply chain activities is a way to tighten your focus, free your internal resources, and improve your bottom line. Plus, partnering with outside service providers offers you the opportunity to take advantage of dedicated expertise, technology, and infrastructure support. Outsourcing gives organizations the flexibility to meet the evolving needs of their customers and deliver more products in less time.


Analyze Data

Don’t rely on past performance to predict future sales. When you take advantage of the visibility into your supply chain that data analysis can offer you’ll be able to react quickly to changes in consumer trends, respond to demands, and stay agile in the face of market conditions. Data analysis can also help sales forecasts, enabling you to minimize overstocking and the cost of overstock. Knowledge on demand will help you minimize cost and maximize profit for the entire supply chain.


Demand-Driven Focus

A well thought-out supply chain management design means an optimized network that speeds the flow of materials through your network. Demand-driven focus helps manage demand more efficiently. The demand-driven approach can help a company create a more customer-focused mindset, without sacrificing operational efficiency. You’ll reduce inventories and improve your ability to both anticipate and fulfill consumer demand, reducing overall costs and boosting your bottom line.

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If you are ready to take your supply chain management operations to the next level, contact IntegraCore today. Our team can help you implement best practices and save you money with your retail fulfillment operations.