The extended supply chain supporting the retail omni market is a critical success factor for retailers providing retailers the data and early warning to help retailers sense and respond to the market changes. The caveat to this statement is that these retailers and the extended supply chain supporting the retailers must have the tools and procedures in place to collect and understand the information that can be provided by the extended supply chain. These methods require an increased collaboration and engagement across the entire extended supply chain in addition to a change in the retailer (especially large legacy retailer) culture to encourage increased collaboration in order to engage the extended supply chain. Each of the partners in the extended supply chain must understand and embrace the fact that the retail omni market requires a dramatic increase in the collaboration and engagement across the entire extended supply chain in order to meet the demands.
It takes a fully engaged and collaborative extended supply chain in order to meet the changing demands and, most importantly, the velocity of experimentation and change in the marketplace by consumers. A tag line that is appropriate in this case is that retailers and their extended supply chain must support change as the speed of life. This means that retailers can no longer spend extended amounts of time on analysis in reaction to marketplace, and consumer demands, retailers must respond with a heightened sense of immediacy in order to maintain the pace of meeting changing demands. It requires a great deal of information in order to identify and react to changes and the extended supply chain can supply a valuable level of detail regarding the market demands from other perspectives that will allow retailers to better understand and react to the demands.
A critical tool in these efforts to increase collaboration and engagement across the extended supply chain is the control tower practice, or method, to manage and direct information. In the past this may have been viewed as an internal tool used by the retailer to collect data and support analysis of the data. This functionality of the tool remains the same and the universe of data should be extended across the entire extended supply chain in order to provide the means and the data to effectively and efficiently analyze the data input collected across the supply chain. Data is the fuel to the collaboration and engagement engine that will be used by the retailer and the extended supply chain to support retail omni market.
Retailers, again especially the large legacy retailers, must overcome their cultural nature to try to control the marketplace and this change can be supported through increased collaboration and engagement across the supply chain. This increased collaboration can provide the information and early warning of changes in consumer purchasing and shopping practices through the integration of shipping and delivery information available from transportation partners, for instance. Consumer reactions and demands can be unpredictable in this marketplace, especially because of the velocity of technology change available to the consumer. This means that retailers and their extended supply chain must be dramatically more responsive to changing demands and this increased responsiveness can only be supported by increased collaboration and engagement across the extended supply chain.