It’s time to take a platform approach to your retail supply chain
Today’s connected consumers are demanding more from retailers than ever before – buying and returning items all at a click of a button or shouting an instruction to a voice assistant.
While for the consumer the process is relatively simple, the supply chains supporting this in the background are becoming increasingly complex with many different moving parts.
If retailers are to have any chance of keeping up with customer demand, they need their supply chains to become more flexible and dynamic. Research from Retail Week shows in 2019 almost a third (29%) of retailers admitted to not having true visibility of their supply chain. However, retailers clearly recognise the need to invest in their supply chains, with the same research revealing investment is growing as 41% of retailers are investing between 11% and 20% more in their supply chains than they did three years ago.
There’s no silver bullet
When it comes to transforming the supply chain, a one size fits all approach simply won’t work. As Darren Jones, head of logistics strategy and development at Sainsbury’s noted, it’s dangerous to think you can make your own ‘silver bullet’ supply chain technology solution.
Companies such as Amazon and Ocado have invested in building their own supply chain technology. This not only ensures a great deal of control over their systems but also gives them the option of serving as third-party providers for other companies. However, this not only takes a huge amount of time, but a lot of investment and heavy lifting. After all, we can’t all be big players like Amazon.
So, what can retailers do if they aren’t building their own solutions, or are still heavily reliant on legacy systems, which they can’t simply just rip and replace?
Building on solid ground
Fortunately, new advances in technology are enabling smaller retailers to gain many of the benefits of their larger competitors. The use of Machine Learning is delivering optimisations across the whole supply chain. Delivered on the Cloud, with increased use of APIs and microservices, retailers are able to integrate and develop new capabilities more quickly and efficiently than ever before. This promises to have a transformative effect on supply chains. Through taking more of a platform approach to their supply chains, retailers can connect their core enterprise and SaaS-based applications together, uniting planning, execution and delivery capabilities from end-to-end. Furthermore, by joining their supply chain digital assets together, retailers can consume, enhance, supplement, mine and analyse rich data sets to detect previously unseen insights across their supply chain network.
Ultimately the Holy Grail of supply chains is to see the future with perfect clarity, as this will allow retailers to make more accurate and profitable business decisions, managing unforeseen disruptions in real-time and avoiding issues before they happen. By linking the whole supply chain, retailers can ensure that challenges in one area to not have implications on another. A platform can contribute to that mission by providing rich pools of clean data, which an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) engine can consume. Indeed, Gartner’s 2019 CIO survey revealed that 48% of organisations expect to have deployed the technology in some way by 2020. One area for example where AI can be used by retailer is forecasting and demand planning, using data from footfall through to sales figures and even the weather.
Through creating a more integrated and autonomous supply chain, retailers will be able to more intelligently predict and shape demand, fulfil faster and provide a seamless customer experience – all of which are the key tenets for retail success.
By Wayne Snyder, VP Retail Industry Strategy EMEA at JDA Software
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New speakers announced for Procurement & Supply Chain Live
Two leading executives in supply chain transformation have been confirmed for this year's Procurement & Supply Chain Live event.
Procurement & Supply Chain Live is the perfect opportunity to hear from prominent executives at the world’s leading procurement and supply chain businesses. The event will be streamed live from Tobacco Dock, London via the leading networking platform Brella.
The three-day show, running 28-30 September 2021, is an essential deep dive into the industry, with influential speakers sharing insights and strategies from their organisations, group roundtable discussions, and fireside chats.
We take a look at the latest additions to the already amazing lineup of speakers announced so far, and what they will bring to the flagship event.
VP Global Supply Chain at Macmillan Education Ltd
Shaun Plunkett has over 30 years of supply chain leadership experience in FMCG, entertainment and media sectors, supporting multi-billion euro businesses including Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music, Harper Collins and Associated British Foods. He has a track record of successfully delivering transformational change coupled with award winning operating models and developing and coaching global teams. Plunkett says that challenging the status quo is at the heart of what drives him on a daily basis - and encouraging others to continuously push the boundaries.
Read more about Plunkett’s involvement in Macmillan Education’s supply chain transformation HERE
Digital Transformation Lead, Oracle UK and Board Member, CILT at Macmillan Education Ltd
Vikram Singla is digital transformation director at Oracle, UK. He helps supply chain and finance business leaders leverage technology to deliver meaningful business outcomes for their organisations. He also serves on the board if CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) – UK and is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at Anglian Ruskin University. Singla has more than 25 years’ experience in the technology sector, and in global supply chain transformation, including deploying business transformation programmes for Fortune 500 firms. In his spare time, Singla is a passionate brand ambassador for Cancer Research.
Plunkett and Singla join a growing line-up of speakers, including: Sheri R. Hinish, IBM; Robert Copeland, G4S; Daniel Weise, BCG; Mark Bromley, Mastercard; David Loseby, Rolls Royce; and Ninian Wilson, Vodafone Procurement Company.