Six Supply Chain Resolutions for Retailers

With 2011 now behind us, it safe to say that the past year saw the consumer taking a much more active role in the shopping process, investing heavily in online information gathering, sharing, and oh yes — spending.

As 2012 gets going, the mobile retail revolution is certainly in full effect and I have every reason to believe that the connected consumer very much wants to be the primary focus of every retailer they visit. With that customer focus in mind, I offer my top six supply chain resolutions for 2012. These are resolutions that every retailer should consider as they strive for a holistic product and customer-focused strategy across all of their supply chain channels.

  1. Pledge Consumer Centricity.Make consumer centricity your mantra in 2012. Put the customer at the center of every decision and think about the way the customer is going to perceive your brand and the relationship they have with you.
  2. Enhance the Customer Experience.Retailers have always known that “the customer is always right.” Well, now they are not only right, they are empowered to drive change in all aspects of their lives. Today’s customers value relationships and experiences almost above all else and will remain loyal to the companies they feel truly elevate their experience. One needs to look no further than your local Apple store and see the customers jam-packed to experience and purchase the brand. In the worst economic conditions we have seen in decades, this is quite telling.
  3. Strive for a Holistic Product- Customer-Focused Strategy Across All Channels.Your customers see retailers as one company and yet we often see them as unique individuals who shop and purchase in disparate channels. Seek out new strategies that allow omni-channel retailing to become a reality.
  4. Drive Your Business From Demand Not Constraints.Retailers all over the world are realizing that to be successful they must operate from a demand-driven perspective. Too many practices, policies and people are driven from an internal, constraint-based perspective that often puts the customer at the low end of the value spectrum.
  5. Make the Supply Chain a Strategic Differentiator.In 2011, we saw many supply chain disruptions around the world caused by cost-conscious companies seeking the lowest common denominator in the supply chain. This year, make a more concentrated effort to focus on areas of strategic differentiation in the supply chain; one that offers nimbleness, flexibility and efficiency.
  6. Break Down Collaboration Inhibitors.It’s no secret that collaboration initiatives continue to rise in popularity and scope. For good reason, collaboration yields better visibility, insights and profitability. If there are barriers in place today that inhibit both internal and external collaboration, seek policies to reduce or remove the barriers to operate more collaboratively.What are your own resolutions? I’d love to hear your ideas for greater retail success in 2012 and discuss them here.Happy New Year Retailers!

  1 Comment   Comment

  1. Madhav Durbha

    As a consumer, I especially like #3. It has been a while since I stopped buying “products”. I am now buying “holistic experiences” when I shop, whether it is a tablet or simply day-to-day essentials. When I participate in a retailer”s loyalty program, I expect them to fully understand my preferences and provide me a seamless shopping experience whether I buy products using their brick and mortar stores or their online/mobile channels. As a consumer, I will vote with my dollars for any retailer who sells such “holistic experiences” to me. The technology is available and the timing is now!


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