The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Executing On The Promise: Retail Fulfillment 2012


In this report, we find the retail world at a decision point. Retailers have managed to isolate their supply chains from cross-channel impacts, but the volume has now grown to the point where it can no longer be ignored. But even more so than the conflicts that arose between eCommerce and stores, we find that retail supply chains - both the networks and the organizations - are ill-prepared to adjust to this customer-driven transformation.

It used to be that supply chain was integral to defining the selling channel — you will see a holdover of that world in our analysis as well. Now, however, we find that how a retailer sells is starting to dictate how the supply chain functions and should be organized. And the supply chain organization has been very slow to react.

Selected Findings from this Report:

  • Retail Winners report feeling more pressure than their peers from the business challenges of erratic consumer demand and fast-paced digital growth.
  • Winners have opted to sacrifice service levels as the preferred alternative to carrying too much inventory - they are half again as likely as their peers to report they suffer from out of stocks than that they have too much slow-moving inventory.
  • Flexibility to adjust quickly to deviations from forecast appears to be too hard of an opportunity to grasp for almost 70% of this study's respondents, although more Retail Winners continue to invest in those capabilities than do other retailers (36% compared to 24%).
  • Retailers don't think that a supply chain redesign is a prerequisite to improving performance, turning instead to better coordination between supply chain, merchandising, and channels.

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