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2018


In order for retailers to successfully navigate the change that seems to have been washing over the retail market in waves these retailers must develop what I would call a process of improvement.  This process would provide the framework that allows the retailer to review, evaluate and then react to the changes in the marketplace in a manner that addresses the change while still maintaining the framework of the retail processes.  Retailers must first define the process to followed to evaluate and implement change before they begin reacting to change so that the change can be addressed in a manner that effectively meets the challenge while maintaining the framework of the retailer’s market strategy.  The process of improvement is about how the retailer incorporates change into the framework and not about the change itself.

 

The process of improvement will define the method that the retailer reacts to change and disruption in the market and will allow the retailer to incorporate change in a manner that supports the change while also integrating with the retailer market framework.  The process of improvement allows the retailer to react and incorporate change into their model more quickly and efficiently to allow theme to stay maintain their relationship with customers and maintain market share.  The process of improvement must not be implemented as a rigid procedure that limits change, rather it must be implemented as a model to eliminate the rigidity of the retailer framework.

 

This process requires a commitment from the retailer to focus on process and flexibility which requires that the retailer’s framework be built upon a collaborative and flexible foundation of processes that support the quick and efficient integration when change is required.  This is no easy feat to implement and will require that the retailer focus on standard integration practices and Internet based capabilities that allow the retailer to focus on objectives and process, allowing and encouraging the retailer to focus on the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’.  This is critical to implementing a framework that supports the retail market for a long time to come.

 

The larger retailers have spent the better part of the last two or three years acquiring and implementing new capabilities as ‘bolt on’ type features and now must turn their focus to process definition and implementation to incorporate these features into a flexible and robust retail framework that focuses on process rather than channel.  When this process of improvement framework is defined the retailer must then focus on the tools that are part of the framework and used to support the changing demands from consumers on the retailer.

 

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?

 


The Internet has embraced the retail market and now it’s time for the retail market to embrace the Internet.  While the retail market has embraced eCommerce and the ability to purchase across channels, aside from retailers that have started recently and as an Internet based business, the large and legacy retailers have been focused on acquiring and implementing ‘bolt on’ features and functionality to enhance their eCommerce sales capabilities.  This strategy allowed the retailers to maintain sales and at least superficially support consumer demands to extend purchasing across channels.  Retailers have learned a lot during this time and the market has changed to incorporate eCommerce capabilities, these are all very positive improvements and the beginning of the a revolution in the retail market.

 

The changes continue to be driven by consumers and their embrace of technology coupled with the offering changes driven by Amazon’s expansion into new areas of the retail market.  The Internet of Things in the retail market will be driven first by Amazon and then embraced by consumers.  These changes will require retailers to implement a framework that supports both integration across technology practices and collaboration across partners and consumers.  The large legacy retailers have implemented a very strong suite of interactive capabilities supporting multi-channel demands as an initial reaction to the consumer demands and this gets them over the initial hurdle and now they must redouble the effort and change to truly integrate and support the market disruption. 

 

The first phase is the external manifestation of the Internet revolution and this provides some time for these retailers to focus on a robust and flexible foundation to take the capabilities to support the next level of demands.  The capabilities of the Internet of Things will drive the next revolution in the retail market by extending voice technologies on top of the mobile and wireless technologies into the consumer world to create a true Internet enabled omnipresent retail marketplace.

 

Unfortunately for large retailers, technology and the Internet of Things will only double down on both the changes and the rate of changes to continue to drive the market disruption.  The rate and velocity of change will only increase and this requires a componentized framework that supports enhanced collaboration and the ability to integrate new capabilities and technologies driven by consumer demands and experimentation.  The virtual and the physical retail outlets are merging with the Internet of the retail market and this requires implementation of both practices and technologies by the retailer to support a true single outlet supporting virtual and physical demands in the market.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Age Of Social Commerce

Posted by tbrouill Jan 28, 2018


The retail industry has moved through eCommerce and omni channel into a social commerce market that blends shopping and purchasing across all channels and social networks in the sharing economy.  Social commerce is driven by consumers and is the result of their wresting control of shopping and purchasing to support and also more importantly to enhance their lifestyles.  This is the next logical development of retail that redefines the market into a new market that enhances and extends the consumer experience and lifestyle demands.  Consumers have embraced technology to mash together retail shopping, social networking, delivery services to support the demands of their changing lifestyles. 

 

Millennials in the marketplace are driving changes these changes into the market based on their comfort with technology, embrace of virtual capabilities and drive to experiment through combinations to meet their needs.  These morphing capabilities are then expanding into mainstream practices more quickly as a result of the growth of millennials in the marketplace in addition to the growing embrace of technology by consumers.  The consumer market is growing and changing through a natural type of continuous improvement or in this change a process of continuous change where one change leads to another and changes are then combined and recombined into new cablitilities limited only by their imagination and tendency to experiment.  The key difference now in this age of social commerce is the group that is controlling the change, with the explosive growth of technology capabilities available to consumers they are no longer limited to the capabilities offered by retailers. 

 

This has put the large legacy retailers at a disadvantage requiring they chase the technology and the capabilities to maintain their standing in the market.  These retailers have been chasing Amazon for a while now to provide expanding shopping and purchasing capabilities to keep up.  While Amazon is arguably the leader in consumer shopping and a worthy leader in enhanced capabilities focused on improving the consumer shopping and purchasing capabilities Amazon is also a leader in social commerce capabilities as well.  This focus on social commerce by Amazon provides a secret sauce ingredient that other retailers have missed as a result of their focus on technology and purchasing capabilities.

 

The good news for the retail market is that large legacy retailers are beginning to take notice of these social network demands and capabilities to expand the consumer relationships.  These retailers realize the potential and I believe that millennials are not only changing the retail market, they are also expanding influence and participation in corporate america, including these large legacy retailers to drive the same practices in the corporate culture that have changed the retail market.  These are exciting times and social commerce in combination with the sharing economy are redefining practices and capabilities.

 

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?

 


Retailers seem to be struggling now with fitting into the sharing economy that has been embraced and really developed by consumers using the technology and social network capabilities to meet their lifestyle.  The sharing economy has had a dramatic impact on the way that consumers shop and interact with retailers, other consumers and ultimately the selection end purchase of the product.  In their embrace of the sharing economy, consumers have utilized technology to eliminate any friction in their shopping for products through a combination of their broad usage of Internet search and shopping capabilities combined with social network consumer to consumer purchasing opportunities.  Consumer have incorporated the retailer into these practices as they fit into the scheme from a price and availability perspective as piece of the shopping and purchasing puzzle.

 

This leaves retailers with an interesting dilemma; how do they fit into the consumer shopping and purchasing strategy as an integral piece of the sharing economy?  It seems to me that this is the important question that must be answered prior to expanding or implementing new services and purchasing options.  Retailers have worked hard to extend capabilities in the omni channel market to support what is perceived to be consumer priorities.  This focus on providing consumer purchasing options has done a great deal to incorporate real time capabilities and expansion of consumer interaction through technology.  In fact in the last year I have seen many great improvements in blending the virtual with the physical shopping practices for the larger legacy retailers that provides the ability for consumers to easily and efficiently engage with the retailer online from any location or time.  This has increased the customer service capabilities in the brick and mortar stores a great deal by addressing many of the activities for which a customer would normally search out a sales associate.

 

These capabilities are really baseline activities required as the cost of entry in the marketplace.  In addition, the methods that these capabilities have been added, in most cases through acquisition or adding separate ecommerce platforms, require an added level of complexity and support making them more brittle and difficult to change with the changing consumer demands.  Retailers have reached the first level of interaction and support to participate in the sharing economy and they can experiment with additional collaboration now with consumers.

 

Retailers must next focus on creating a pervasive, omnipresent, platform that truly supports and engages the sharing economy.  The first step in the journey is meeting the consumer demands and providing the initial version of a platform concept that can be improved going forward the next step though can be even more difficult.  The next step is the omnipresent platform that supports collaboration and integration across all partners and truly supports engagement of the sharing economy.

 

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?

 


Business process transparency is important to ensure clear understanding of the process and just as importantly the requirements and steps supporting the process.  In fact transparency, in my opinion, may be the single most important factor in defining a robust business process model that can be accepted by all partners interacting and supporting the model.  We are at a juncture in the retail marketplace where the business process retailers embrace to support the market must be redefined with the participation of the other partners supporting the business process.  This collaboration across partners in defining a transparent business process model is critical in gaining the acceptance and most importantly the participation of the partners across the retail market network.

 

There is a great deal of evidence showing the retail disruption has also disrupted the retail business process model.  It is now time to evaluate and redefine the business process model to account for the disruption across the market and the partners. It is especially important to start with a review of the recent process additions many retailers incorporated to support consumer demands through acquisitions.  The challenge retailed to the acquisition model that has been used to gain traction is the lack of transparency across the business process model.  This is a key reason to perform this exercise; it requires a thoughtful and transparent evaluation that includes the partners in the market to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 

This evaluation must include the processes from the end-to-end market and partners supporting the features and functionality in order to identify a transparent business process model to move ahead into the future of increased change.  Retailers can no longer survive by taking disconnected steps and addressing demands in a disconnected one-off manner.  Consumers are demanding and building a marketplace that includes retailers, other consumers, carriers and manufacturers in a cohesive and transparent process that will support their demands at the time.   Consumers are continuously building and breaking apart relationships and capabilities based on their lifestyle needs at the time.  Retailers must now change their culture to follow these same practices with their end to end partners in order for them to maintain their place in the consumer view.

 

Retailers have traditionally followed the trends, for the most part in a reactionary model.  It is important in these times for retailers to change their methods to focus on a flexible and transparent business process that takes into account lessons learned and direction.  There is no way that a retailer will be able to clearly define how their business will change in three years, however, it is extremely important for these retailers to define the framework that will help them to support the changing demands over the next three years.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Retail Market Use Cases

Posted by tbrouill Jan 23, 2018


Retailers must now focus on developing and end to end supply chain business process model that defines a framework and strategy for interaction, support and transparency of processes across the extended supply chain, from supplier to consumer and just as importantly the return from the consumer of products.  The exercise requires support and focused engagement across all partners, internal and external, to develop a transparent business process that will provide the foundation for interactions with consumers directly and also support of the consumer demands that are hitting the retail market in waves of disrupting changes.  The foundation will bring the opportunity for stability and structure for planning and also for the cross partner extended interaction required to effectively support the volume and types of change retailers are now experiencing.

 

Retailers have been putting together functionality and capabilities through acquisition and development in reaction to the changes in the market and have reached a point now where they must step back to assess their longer term strategy and methods to achieve their longer term goals. These retailers, and especially the large retailers have incorporated a wide array of capabilities and technologies in their efforts to support these consumer demands and now must take the next step in the journey to incorporate their partners and consumers in a collaborative environment that will first identify potential gaps in features, functionality, integration and collaboration and then second provide the roadmap for the partners to address in a transparent model.

 

Due to the number and relationships of the partners that are part of this challenge there is a baseline requirement for this exercise to be undertaken embracing transparency.  This focus on transparency is especially important to maintain the interest and participation of each of the extended partners in this model.  This especially includes the consumer relationship and the process that should harness the consumer interest and participation in the model.  Obviously the consumer participation and direction will not be provided at the same levels as the extended partners.  The consumer participation though does require a special focus to encourage participation and this is where the transparency in the participation and the process becomes critical.

 

Retailers have lost control of the market over the last few years with the explosive expansion of consumer technology and networks, both social and wireless technology.  These retailers must step back and take this opportunity to engage internal, external and consumer partners now to engage and influence the market along with providing the means for retailers to obtain early warning in market changes.  Retailers are realizing the extent of the market changes and are reacting by acquiring new capabilities and one of the challenges is to integrate the new capabilities and then provide a cohesive flow for consumers and partners to be able to engage.

 

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?

 


The role of the retail supply chain increases with the now with the changes in the retail market and especially to support consumer demands in purchase and delivery options.  As the retail market changes the importance of the retail supply chain will increase to support the changes.  This requires that the supply chain process be included as an integral part of the overall retail business process model to define an end to end flexible process that can carry support the changing consumer demands and the retailers success moving into the future.  The supply chain and the extended partners within this supply chain is going through the same upheaval as the retail market and requires collaboration to develop an end to end process framework that supports the current business model and includes the flexibility to support the discontinuous changes that continue to rock the market.

 

The supply chain supporting retail has been going through its own upheaval over the last few years with the the demands and the types of services going through a series of changes to volumes that has dramatically shifted the work to a greater level of consumer delivery.  Then add to that increase in demands additional outside factors and demands that require carriers to add security and optional secured pick-up capabilities to reduce the risk of theft.  As consumer deliveries have increased the risk and cost of package theft increased as well, bringing with it another new opportunity for delivery services and security. These new opportunities increase the complexity and cost of the deliveries, however these costs are offset by the reductions in theft.

 

These are just a couple of examples of the change that are buffeting the retail supply chain and retailers as well.  The challenges facing retailers and also the retail supply chain are similar; technology changes and consumer lifestyles are allowing consumers to change the retail market and with these changes to the retail market flow across all processes supporting the market.  This is why it is critical to engage and define the entire end to end process supporting the consumer, it must flow and support the ability to react and change as necessary when the consumer demands change.

 

As consumers have embraced technology to support their changing lifestyles they have used the capabilities along with social networks and collaboration as the tools that support these changes while retailers have struggled reacting to these changes. Retailers must utilize these same expansion of technology capabilities into account with the entire end to end retail process to define the process and identify gaps to supporting the demands.  Retailers cannot continue to bolt on apps and capabilities to their legacy process capabilities and hope to support the level of change.  These retailers must now step back to define an end to end retail business process that provides a foundation framework to support change in the form of plug and play capabilities to take them into the future.  This exercise must also include all involved partners in and expansion of collaboration across the market to increase the flexibility and capabilities.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Retail Business Process

Posted by tbrouill Jan 20, 2018


Retailers must redefine their business processes for shopping, purchasing and delivery in order to support the demands of the changing consumer demands in the retail market.  This redefinition will allow the retailer to define a flexible and robust process model that can support the current demands along with the changing demands that cannot be anticipated in the future.  The current business processes are defined and focused on the channel which worked for the initial stages of the omni channel retail demands however, this no longer applies in a market that truly blends channels into an omnipresent market and retailers must now adjust to this reality in order to support and react quickly, efficiently and effectively to the changing demands in the future.

 

A single shopping, purchasing and delivery business process design simplifies the retailer requirements and will allow the retailer to implement a strategic framework to support the changing consumer demands quickly and efficiently.  The retailer can no longer follow a business process that focuses on a channel while the consumer driving the market is focused on the process and the delivery that best meets their current need without regard to channel.  The inefficiencies inherent in struggling with processes that don’t quite fit are enormous and these are some of the key challenges to the retailers in this new market. 

 

Retailers are currently struggling with with the inefficiencies of integrating both changes to their practices based on consumer and partner demands along with the inefficiencies of integrating new acquisitions acquired to support new online capabilities.  These changes will certainly not slow and will only increase in complexity which is why the retailer must take the time now to redefine their business processes.  This will require though that the retailer ‘walk and chew gum at the same time’ to balance reaction and support of the changing market demands and integration of new acquisitions, with the development of a strategic omnipresent business process definition.

 

Retailers should view this business process definition exercise not only as a means to define a cohesive and flexible process to support the market and just as important this exercise provide a means to define the integration strategy along with a means to define needs to support the process.  The identification of the needs to support this omnipresent process is, in my opinion, one of the most critical and valuable objectives of this exercise.  Let’s face it, it is critical that retailers define the process first and then review and analyze this process to identify and address gaps.  This gap definition will allow the retailer to define their strategic direction and plan to move forward and without this gap definition the retailer will simply flounder along from one changing demand to another towards an inevitable loss of market and dwindling sales.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Retailer Showrooming

Posted by tbrouill Jan 15, 2018


The most interesting reaction to the changing retail omni channel market that I have seen recently is the embrace of showrooming by some retailers.  This is interesting because it wasn’t so long ago that all retailers were fighting the practice.  Retailers are now seeing the benefits to their inventory management, consumer satisfaction and forecasting that results from the practice.  This change results from retailer recognition of the consumer demands and more importantly the recognition of consumer control of their shopping and purchasing.  This beginning of acceptance for showrooming shows a distinct change in strategy of retailers to these market demands and their recognition of the acceptance of the impact of the Internet on consumer shopping and purchasing practices.

 

Showrooming is an extension of the Internet and eCommerce shopping in the brick and mortar shopping space.  This recognizes the impact of the Internet on the retail marketplace and creates the outlets for and physical extension for virtual shopping.  Consumers view shopping and purchasing is a social interaction while the product delivery is the physical outcome of this social activity and sometimes the physical purchase in the brick and mortar outlet and the effort of carrying the purchases can dampen the social experience.  This physical outcome does not need to be tied to the shopping though and the introduction and encouragement of showrooming will result in increased shopping time which also results in increased sales for retailers.

 

Showrooming provides the means for retailers to improve inventory availability for the purchase because it allows for the consumer demand to be filled from a regional distribution center for more efficient fulfillment.  Another major benefit to the retailer is the ability to test product demand in markets without a large inventory investment.  This provides increased flexibility in managing inventory availability by allowing retailers to easily focus the delivery of the purchase based on consumer demand and not the inventory available in the store at the time.  I believe this will improve the accuracy of forecasting and planning because it allows the retailers to understand the consumer demand and lost sales due to inventory not available.  This increased accuracy and regional delivery will allow for increased flexibility to deliver to the demand and this in turn will result in reductions in overstock and liquidation inventory. 

 

This is a big step in retail culture that really expands the horizon of possibilities for both retailers and consumers. It allows retailers to define and support a standard business process for purchase and delivery that can be executed from any channel creating a true omni channel experience.  We need to define a new phrase or acronym for this next wave in retail that describes the experience.  The challenge for retailers is to maintain and increase the momentum in this direction and consumers will not be patient with setbacks.  I look forward to these changes, they are exciting times to be a consumer and experiment with the capabilities.

 

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?

 


Consumers have wrested control of their purchasing practices through a combination of mobile technology, online purchasing, third party mobile apps and retailer modifications to the entire purchasing flow.  Consumers have redesigned their shopping and purchasing practices to align better with their lifestyle changes by mashing up technology readily available to them.  Retailers have finally recognized first that consumers will not accept the limitations previously imposed on their shopping experience and second that the consumer demands are a continuous and steady stream of change driven by technology and imagination.  Consumers are exercising control over their shopping and purchasing now based on technology, market and service provider capabilities in new ways all the time now and this requires engagement and flexibility across the market.

 

The driving factors are technology and imagination of both consumers and the retail marketplace, this is driven by consumers, retailer offerings (especially Amazon) and third party technology.  The technology capabilities and flexibility are really fueling the imagination from all quarters to change at least as much as the changing consumer lifestyle demands.  Sometimes I think it is difficult to identify the driving factor; technology capabilities or lifestyle changes because the technology has definitely made a great deal of lifestyle changes possible.  These changing demands and capabilities have now almost taken on a life of their own in supporting the consumer purchase demands and have extended across just about every partner in the extended supply chain.

 

It has taken quite a while but retailers are starting to change their strategies and respond to these changing purchase demands with their own technology tools and services.  All of the major retailers have taken great strides to change and incorporate new technology tools and services in response to the consumer demands.  These changes have gone a long way towards blurring the lines between channels in response to the consumer changing practices.  This is manifested through the push for use of the retailer’s mobile web capabilities in the stores to provide additional services while the consumer is shopping. 

 

The most interesting retailer reaction, and one that I believe will become the normal brick and mortar practice soon is now being introduced by Bed, Bath & Beyond to reduce the amount of inventory for purchase and increase the amount of inventory to showcase on the store floor.  This is an imaginative twist to the endless aisles practice where retailers offer additional variety online.  I think this is a great concept and really extends the usefulness of the store real estate to allow consumers to see and touch then purchase online.  I believe this to be a trend of the future and look forward to the response from other retailers.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

3PL Technology Impact

Posted by tbrouill Jan 11, 2018


The supply chain technology cycles are increasing in velocity becoming more and more difficult to maintain and stay current.  This change velocity presents a large challenge for many retailers that can be overcome many times through a partnership with third party logistics providers.  Historically the larger retailers would maintain a large staff and warehouse network to support the individual requirements of the retailer.  With the increase in change velocity this strategy of a customized solution supported by the retailer is no longer viable or cost effective and a much more strategic strategy is standardization of software, processes and capabilities to comply with the changing industry standards to support the ability to quickly and efficiently adapt to the changing demands.

 

A strategy of standardization lends itself to a partnership with third party logistics providers for execution capabilities.  This allows the retailer to take advantage of the capabilities continuously updated by these providers and allows the retailer to focus on reacting to new consumer demands in shopping and purchasing along with the marketing and product procurement demands to remain fresh while leaving the distribution, both inbound and outbound to the provider.  This is a much more cost effective strategy in the long run and places the support with the organizations that are best suited to delivery necessary results.

 

The industry has been moving in this direction for quite some time when you include the ERP, MRP and supply chain software acceptance in the market starting years ago.  The inclusion of services from a third party logistics provider is the next logical step in a strategy improvements program.  The goal of the strategy is to implement people, processes and systems to first standardize the process and then implement a continuous improvement program.  Third Party Logistics partners provide a standardized method to supporting the inventory management and delivery strategies and they bring to the table a wealth of experience in the industry to delivery a continuous improvement program and support the changing demands of the market.

 

This is a relatively new strategy that can bring a great deal of benefit to the 3PL partners through both standardized processes along with a wealth of industry experience to help their partners address challenges.  These third party logistics partners, at least the good ones, are continuously driving improvements into their processes and systems to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.  These partners are focused on the extended supply chain and the logistics to manage and support the supply chain.  This is all these 3PL partners do and as a result they are very good at their job. 

 

These third party logistics partners bring this expertise to their partners so their partners do not have to spend the time and effort in building and maintaining the skills internally.  These 3PL partners can instead focus on the things that differentiate them from the competition.  The extended supply chain can be viewed as something of a commodity and retailers should partner with experts in the supply chain so they can focus on their market key factors.

 

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?

 


This period of change in the retail market is driving change into the retail supply chain and especially in the way in which the extended supply chain partners react to the change and collaborate to support the changing market demands.  I see the key areas of change to be focused on communication and engagement with the partners.  I see an extension of the extended supply chain partners communications with consumers, especially in the consumer shipping and delivery aspects of the purchasing and shopping activities.  There are many aspects of the consumer relationship with retailers that will change and require support and expanded interaction and collaboration across the extended supply chain to support consumers and also the retailer requirements to meet the changing demands of the retail market.

 

Speed and flexibility are the order of the day to support the retail market disruption and this extends across the retail market and the interaction with consumers.  The extended supply chain no longer has the luxury of extended planning and implementation cycles.  The new market demands iterative delivery of improvements through flexible open technology platforms and increased collaboration across the extended supply chain. Consumers in this market are continuously collaborating with other consumers and social networks to revise and improve their shopping and purchasing based on new services and mobile apps.  Social networks may be the single greatest influence on shopping and purchasing behaviors since their expansion into the retail market with focused advertising including products, services and new apps.

 

One area of expansion for the extended supply chain is engaging and extending the relationship directly with consumers.  This is a direct result from the expansion of retail services and apps from the social networks.  Consumers have become much more tech savey in using technology and are pushing the market through their use of technology to expand collaboration and engagement.  Retailers are starting to adjust to these demands and the change in the market, for instance, Bed, Bath and Beyond is reducing in store inventory to allow them to expand the showroom selection and increase the purchase and delivery online from the store. 

 

The parcel carriers are expanding their consumer delivery capabilities and consumer ease of delivery through many practices such as early notification of delivery to allow for redirecting parcels, or delivery hubs of lockers where consumers can conveniently pick up deliveries according to their schedule.  The technology drive and expansion in the supply chain and the retail market is focusing now on flexibility, collaboration and most importantly adjusting to the consumer lifestyle.

 

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?

 


The retail marketplace is entering into a period of extreme change driven by technology and most importantly by consumer use of new technology capabilities.  This change in technologies is driven by consumers demand for increased and improved services to support their changing lifestyles.  These new demands and changes will cause an extended period of upheaval in the market and require retailers focus on extreme flexibility in their capabilities along with increased investments in these new capabilities driven by the new technologies.  The basis of these changes are communications and collaboration and these changes will drive retailers to adopt open technology platforms and tools to be able to adapt to the changes in demands quickly and efficiently.

 

The order of the day for this new marketplace is disruption and discontinuous change driven by consumer adaptation of new technologies and how consumers use these new technologies and capabilities to support their changing lifestyle demands.  Technology delivered by one retail market segment to consumers is driving the changes and disruption in other retail market segments and these changes are so quick that retailers in the impacted market segment cannot use traditional discovery practices to react to the changes. 

 

Consumers are utilizing technology, software, social networks with the Internet as the glue that connects all of these tools to create new capabilities and retailers now must plug into these same tools with the connection and glue provided by the Internet as well in order to react to the demands in a response time and manner that allows the retailers to not be overrun by the potential disruption. The Internet of Things is the wild card to these consumer capabilities and based on the current capabilities and the potential changes, especially those changes driven by consumer demands added to the potential promised by smart home technologies, the retail impact will be discontinuous disruption to the retail market in a cycle that can potentially overrun retailers capabilities without warning.  Retailers now must accept the fact they will be chasing these changes and will not be introducing the changes.

 

Large retailers must first recognize that they no longer control the retail market and second they must change their from directing the consumer interaction to collaborating with consumers to find ways to meet their needs.  The changing and improving technology will support these new demands however the retailers must invest in the technologies.  This is the challenge of the large retail culture which in the past was not supportive of leading edge technologies and in the future will be required to support leading edge technologies in order 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?

 

tbrouill

Mobile Change Model

Posted by tbrouill Jan 3, 2018


Mobile technologies and networks have turned the retail change model on its ear by wresting control of change along with the velocity of change from retailers, allowing consumers to take control.  In my opinion, this is the greatest change in retail probably since eCommerce exploded on the market and brought us Amazon.  In fact the introduction of eCommerce and especially the inception and growth of Amazon have been key factors in the change revolution.  Change has always been a factor in consumer relationships and retail and in the past retailers and their partners have been able to control the change through their control of technology, process and the extended supply chain.  These controls have allowed the largest retailers in the marketplace to exert a very wide and strong level of control on practices and capabilities and these legacy practices have been overridden through consumer embrace of mobile technologies and networks.

 

The mobile change model and technologies have been shaped and molded to support the consumer discontinuous change demands in shopping and purchasing without direct support from retailers themselves.  This is truly a game changing model in the retail market that first must be recognized and embraced by retailers and their partners just as it has been recognized and embraced by consumers.  Retailers now seem to be moving towards accepting this new model and are acquiring the tools to allow them to support this model.  The greatest change though that must be embraced by retailers and their supply chain partners is the culture change required to break down silos and expand and enhance collaboration and most importantly engage partners and consumers across the market.

 

During this most recent holiday shopping season we are seeing the results of the of this mobile change model along with the changes implemented by retailers to react to and address the mobile changes.  Retailers now encourage consumers to join their rewards program and then, most importantly, encourage them to access the retailers mobile web site when shopping in the stores to enhance their shopping experience.  This is a dramatic step forward in the consumer shopping experience that utilizes mobile technology to allow consumers to interact with the retailer when shopping, whether in the store or not. 

 

These practices are a great step forward for retailers and allow them to interact more personally with consumers and also allow them to focus attention on specific consumer demands and past purchases to personalize the shopping experience.  Consumers are also pushing the envelope with retailers to expand the services and communications across channels in their drive to blend shopping and purchasing to address their specific needs and personalize based on their specific needs at the time.  Retailers cannot stop now though, they have begun the journey with a strong first step but this is only the beginning and now retailers must continue and embrace the the change model in order to grow and maintain the relationship with consumers.  Consumers will not accept less, and they will leave if the retailer does not continue to grow and change with them.

 

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?

 

tbrouill

Supply Chain New Year

Posted by tbrouill Jan 1, 2018


The past year has a tumultuous year in the retail market and the extended retail supply chain and the new year only presents another year of more change.  The velocity and volume of change is only speeding and this will present another year for the retail supply chain to react, adjust and support the change demanded from all directions.  The extended supply chain is at the forefront of this change steam roller and this requires an especially fluid and flexible methodology to support the change demand.  This new change model is driven by consumer demands and especially the mobile change model driving by the consumer imagination to support their lifestyle changes.  These changes are cannot be fully planned for and as such require a strategy of flexibility guided by research to sense the change to allow the extended supply chain to react and adjust to the demands.

 

Retailers are required to continue to focus on supply chain flexibility and sustainability to support consumer demands.  The extended supply chain has a wide reach and interacts with many partners across the chain providing the retailers in this case an opportunity to understand and the potential to react to the change identified by their partners. Retailers should focus on development and implementation of an early warning system, or a control tower, to collect and analyze change and demands to help them identify potential trends and change.  This control tower process must include all partners in the extended supply chain and this includes the consumers that are reacting to the retailer and the supply chain capabilities.

 

The control tower is a process first that can be very effectively supported by software to collect and distribute information. The key is the process and the desire of all partners to participate and react to the information produced by the control tower process.  This requires the engagement and collaboration of the partners across the extended supply chain and especially the consumer partners.  Consumers must be included as an integral partner in this process.  This inclusion itself is a dramatic change in both process and culture.  This is quite a change from the past and requires a change to the retail culture in order to support the new requirements.

 

The control tower capabilities require patience and a long term commitment to change in order to succeed. This is required though in order to identify and react to the changing demands in a manner and at the velocity that consumers are demanding these changes.  The retail marketplace has begun a time of dramatic change as can be seen by the disruption caused by the omni channel consumer demands and retailers must react to these demands.  The control tower process and software provides the methods and tools to identify and determine how to react to the changes.

 

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?