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?