As a result of the continuously changing demands on the supply chain from retail channels, consumers and suppliers the inventory management systems must also change to meet these demands.  These changes are bigger than simply improving the inventory control systems, software integration and procedures.  These demands require changes in methods, software and also the collaboration improvements across the entire supply chain.  Inventory availability, placement and ability to deliver to meet the consumer demands is a key driving force to changing the way that your supply chain works.  However it is not the only thing changing in how the supply chain works, there are just as must disruption driven by the changing relationship between consumer and retailer driving changes in the supply chain.


Consumer and market demands are changing the retail inventory management requirements in ways that have been difficult for retailers to recognize and adjust to in a timely and effective manner.  The reason for this difficulty is that retailers must take the time to first understand the changes and second to define a strategy to meet these changes and all this must be done while the retail brick and mortar channel is disrupted to the point of serious impact on the survival of many large legacy retailers.  These changes have been a long time coming and have been projected by consumers and retailers have either ignored them, or fought them.  In either case, the market and competition from online retail capabilities in addition to the explosion of technology have converged for consumers to finally implement the changes in purchasing and shopping without the support of the large retailers.   


These changes in both consumer demands and consumer capabilities have come together now to disrupt the retail marketplace and the extended retail supply chain to force a change in the way the supply chain works to support the marketplace.  The changing supply chain demands are now forcing changes in the inventory control systems, software integration and procedures supporting the marketplace to account for the disruption and survive in the future.  Retailers and the inventory control systems and procedures must view consumers as the center of the model and all channels are converging to support this new model.  Consumer demands are driving these changes and retailers must adapt their strategy and inventory control systems to support this model in order to survive.


Unfortunately for the large legacy retailers these changes in the way their supply chain must work comes at a time when they are adjusting to the disruption in the marketplace.  These changes though must be accounted for and addressed in their new strategy in order to support the marketplace.  The changing consumer shopping and purchasing practices are changing and as a result retailers must change their methods, software along with extend collaboration across the entire supply chain, including consumers, in order to meet the demands.  The changes to the way supply chains work are structural and permanent so they will not allow the retailer to simply apply a bandage, this requires major surgery to survive.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?