Highlights from the State of Retail Supply Chain 2016 report

Martec International and RELEX recently released the State of the Retail Supply Chain 2016 report which revealed some interesting findings surrounding the primary issues affecting supply chains today.

The report surveyed retailers with annual sales surpassing $110 million from the U.K., North America and the Nordic countries, explained Material Handling & Logistics. The research covered forecasting challengers, supply chain planning, productivity, stock pools and overall supply chain transparency.

Of the issues addressed in the report, three major business issues arose as the top concerns:

  • 62 percent of retailers are concerned are about increasing availability without increasing stockholding
  • 47 percent are worried about reducing stockholding without affecting sales
  • 44 percent cited the automation of key processes/better collaboration with suppliers as a top concern

The research also revealed some interesting findings concerning forecasting. Of the mentioned forecasting challenges, effective forecasting across supply chains was cited as a major issue by 69 percent of respondents. MH&L explained that this highlights the continued struggle of global suppliers to effectively analyze and report on their supply chains.

"It is interesting to discover that whilst 64 percent of retailers globally highlighted forecasting for promotions as one of their main challenges, only 35 percent have a system in place that can build automatic demand forecast for promotions and only 22 percent have a system that can manage promotion stock run to clear fixtures for the next promotion," noted Group CEO of RELEX Solution Mikko Karkkainen, according to the source

Supply chain process improvement and omnichannel offers
Clearly, improving supply chain processes needs to be a major goal of retailers throughout the remainder of 2016. Spend Matters reported that many upper-level executives plan to increase their spending on improvement processes for supply chains as well as omnichannel fulfillment.

In fact, 56 percent of respondents claimed their investments would be higher than in 2015 while 42 percent reported their spend would remain the same.

Another pressing priority for retailers involved the increased consumer demand for omnichannel offers. This is causing leaders to innovate when it comes to supply chain management in order to ensure they are equipped to handle the demand.

While responding to these consumer preferences with additional warehouses and backroom inventory is a smart move it certainly adds a whole new level of complexity to business and supply chain oversight, explained Spend Matters.

As retailers move further into 2016 they will need to keep a focused eye on their supply chains in order to ensure they are not just responding to consumer demands but meeting them at an exceptional level.

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