The changing retail supply chain execution requires an increased level of specialization to deliver on the demands of the omni channel shopping an delivery requirements.  The retail supply chain must focus on developing functional components that can be put together to meet the retail market demands.  The market demands on the retail supply chain are changing so swiftly that the supply chain is required to increase flexibility and the most efficient manner to increase flexibility is to develop a component catalog that can be utilized to support the shifting demands .  The supply chain functions can no longer be segmented to one piece of the supply chain.  These functions must be able to mix and match in an efficient manner to support the swiftly changing demands of the marketplace or the supply will collapse from the weight of the demands.


Specialization can mean many things and in this case I am focused on the development of components within the retail supply chain to allow selection of the appropriate component, or function, that meets the immediate needs rather than the silos of functionality based on channel.  The retail market has continued its evolution over the years to the point now where the channel should clearly not limit the ability to support the demands of the channel and the market.  This increased flexibility brings with it and increase in complexity required to build, maintain and support the components.  The development of the component capability and the elimination of supply chain silos will allow the retailer to better support the demands and needs of the market.


The functional components require a means to oversee and control the usage and this is best done through a functional control tower of software that provides the glue that allows components to be combined to meet the market demands.  This control tower software or component of the supply chain encourages and supports the elimination of silos in the supply chain and also supports and encourages collaboration across the extended supply chain.  This control tower software allows complexities of the retail supply chain specialization to be monitored and managed throughout the extended supply chain.  Through the ability to monitor and manage the supply chain functionality this control tower also provides the flexibility in the extended supply chain that will support the changing demands for a long time. 


At this point in the evolution of the retail supply chain we can only confirm the importance of flexibility in the supply chain required to meet the consumer demands.  This requires the supply chain to eliminate the silos and increase the collaboration across the extended supply chain to support these demands.  The most effective way to meet these requirements is to implement a foundation that supports methods to combine capabilities as components to support new service demands of the marketplace.


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?