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?