Why are 93% of Retailers Transforming their Supply Chain to Enable Real-time Retailing?

It’s always interesting to see the results of our retail benchmark surveys. Today, we published the results of our 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey and here is what I found to be either interesting new statistics or data points that support continued trends we are seeing with our retail clients…

Pervasive Focus on Transforming Supply Chain for a Seamless Customer Experience

Supply Chain Survey 93 percentIt’s impressive that 93% of the retailers surveyed are either implementing or are in the planning stage of adopting a unified commerce supply chain model. Nearly all retailers have recognized the importance of offering customers a seamless shopping experience and they are focused on transforming their supply chain to meet the needs of a buy anywhere/anytime customer.

First Mover Advantage for Early Adopters

While most retailers have started down the road, very few have created a true unified commerce model. This opens the door for companies that shore-up their supply chain first and offer customers the seamless brand experience they want. Be one of the first to deliver “real-time retail,” and you will reap the rewards of increased customer satisfaction and sales. Really!

Technology is Ready – Just Two more Elements

Just as technology has provided continuous connectivity and responsiveness to the consumer, it also provides the tools to create a robust, responsive and information-rich supply chain. With advanced networks and sophisticated software and analytics, the technology is readily available to enable unified commerce. Now is the time to align the people and processes with the technology to make real-time retail a reality.

Will Good Intentions be Backed by Actual Results?

Again, it is impressive that 93% of retailers have plans to restructure their supply chain with a unified commerce model, but will they successfully deliver with real results? I hope they will, but it isn’t a slam-dunk, as it is more complicated than most people realize and it requires significant resources and investments. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the next few years.

It’s Time to Move Beyond Spreadsheets2014 Supply Chain Survey Cover

There are a lot of great analytic software systems to manage supply chain planning, but it always surprises me to see how many companies still rely on spreadsheets for these functions. With multiple spreadsheets and different calculations and definitions, there are built-in errors and it is impossible to monitor and manage in real-time. According to our survey respondents, 46% use static spreadsheets to manage their supply chain planning. This is definitely an area that I hope see positive changes in our next benchmark results.

I encourage you to read the complete 2014 Supply Chain Benchmark Survey and see how your company compares with the rest of the retail industry.

I would love to hear your perspectives on this report or any other supply chain topics you would like us to cover in future surveys. Please return to this post and share your comments.




Ken Morris

Ken was CEO and President of LakeWest Group and founder of CFT Consulting and CFT Systems, a retail software company. Earlier in his career, he held retail information technology executive positions at Lord & Taylor, Filene’s (Macy’s), Talbots, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, and Sears. His experience is with strategy, selection development and deployment of retail management systems and processes.


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