The changes to the retail market resulting from consumer omni channel shopping and purchasing are disrupting the retail extended supply chain as much, if not more than, the market itself.  The retail supply chain has always been changing and evolving to support the evolving demands of the retail consumer however now omni channel consumer demands have reached the tipping point and the disruption is beginning to extend to the supply chain.  Just as the omni channel shopping and purchasing demands of consumers have disrupted the retail marketplace, these demands will also drive changes to disrupt retail supply chain execution.  The extended retail supply chain must increase flexibility, collaboration, and improve communication across the extended supply chain partners, including consumers. 

 

The retail supply chain must become more flexible and transparent to support changing demands.  These changing will not level out or stabilize, the retail market has changed to a flexible and transparent market as a result of the technology available to and used by consumers and retail supply chain execution must also increase flexibility and transparency.  You can see the changes in a broad spectrum of the market and the resulting supply chain from dramatic increases in parcel deliveries to increased collaboration from consumers across social networks and shopping technology based on social networks, to new partnerships between retailers to support returns.  All of these demands impact the retail supply chain execution by changing the execution requirements.

 

The changing supply chain execution requirements require the entire supply chain to be rebuilt from the foundation to allow the network to collaborate and react to the demands more efficiently.  These demands require increased transparency and increased flexibility on the part of the retail supply chain just as the same demands are disrupting the retail marketplace.  These changing demands require the supply chain to rebuild functionality in ways that allow configuration of services based on the demand requirements so that the services and delivery of product meet the immediate needs of the sale.

 

These changes in retail supply chain execution will not slow and will only increase in both complexity and velocity.  The retail supply chain is required to serve two customers, retailer and consumer, and the challenge for the supply chain is the convergence of demands and expectations from these two customers.  In other words, the demands of the retailer for product inventory supply and location are beginning to converge with the demands of the customers.  In order to prosper and meet these demands require the retail supply chain execution to increase flexibility and transparency to meet the demands.  These changes require a dramatic increase in collaboration across the supply chain network in order to meet the flexibility demands.

 

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?