How to Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
To stay competitive, retailers need to deliver more goods to a growing consumeristic society while maintaining a good quality, standout service. If your business is struggling to keep pace with the demand, you need to understand why before it festers and destroys the foundations of your company. One common cause is that it is the retailer’s supply chain, which may be underperforming, that cannot meet demand.
If there’s a problem with your supply chain, and they cannot bring in products to stores fast enough, then you risk losing customers. How can you smarten up your business’ supply chain? Here’s how.
Track and Manage Inventory in Real Time – Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
It’s difficult to predict consumer behaviour, and by guessing incorrectly, you could overspend (or underspend) on supplies. This challenge can impact margins and sales, and it can even affect your company’s brand. A solution to this problem is to employ a SAP Supplier Portal to communicate in real time to your employees and suppliers. You can create alerts and notifications, forecast future demand, view data from your company’s history, and open orders by status. Retailers can then respond quickly to seasonal trends and market fluctuations on specific items and products which are in high-demand.
Synchronise Your Marketing and Supply Chain – Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
When your marketing team decides to promote a certain product, and if it is done effectively, the product will become popular and will need to be supplied appropriately. Therefore, if your suppliers are unaware of such marketing decisions, they may not be able to provide enough of the product to the store: potentially damaging your ROMI. Keep your marketing team and suppliers in touch to avoid such disasters.
Be Open to Improvement – Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
Make sure to trial new ways of thinking; saying “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” will only slow your supply chain down instead of continuously updating and identifying new time and cost saving techniques. Keep your mind open to new opportunities.
Prepare for Disruptions – Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
Changes in local or global circumstances can greatly disturb your supply chain: impacting your sales and profit. To prepare for such possibilities, ensure you have solutions in place to the “what-if” scenarios, so if anything were to happen, your employees are aware of the backup plan and can put it in place. For example, the eruption of Iceland’s volcano managed to halt global supply chains; causing issues for many companies.
Hire the Right People – Smarten Up Your Retail Supply Chain
This may seem obvious, yet many companies will hire people who end up as dead weight, but may not know about it. You need to ensure your company monitors employee work habits and productivity, otherwise, certain employees may be hindering your company’s capabilities. If someone is underperforming, distribute a warning; if you find many people are unproductive, consider issuing a reward system and ask for their feedback. It may turn out that insufficient training has been completed. Invest in and train your staff; they are your connection to developing good relationships with your suppliers, and your long-term success is dependent on improved communications and stronger performance rates.
Before your company invests money, make sure you have located the cause of the problem. Sometimes, it can be the smallest of fixes to make your company run smoothly once again, however, if you’ve realised your supply chain needs tightening up, the above tips can help considerably.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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