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?