Retail owners may find themselves in a difficult position currently. With the line between physical stores and online retailers blurred, retailers have to consider the relevance of their current plans for asset management, as well as the perennial issues of meeting benchmarks while staying adaptive and flexible.

There's a lot at stake there, and the current business environment makes reorienting a challenge. Considering the following three areas, businesses can rely on new strategic systems for their own priorities in the current landscape and stay competitive, profitable and stable even when there seem to be major hurdles to overcome.

Space issues
Any business with a store to its name needs to manage retail space, but there's also warehouse availability to account for. CNBC recently spoke to the CEO of STAG Industrial, Ben Butcher, about the lack of warehouse space hampering the development of internet-based companies like Amazon.
The famous online marketplace has drawn attention for its recent purchase of Whole Foods, a well-known retail company and a buy that might be a boost for a business with needs to expand into physical space in the future. Butcher implied that this trend is about to develop further.

"As retailers reconfigure their supply chain to accommodate the shift in consumer behavior, the requirement for warehousing space will increase substantially - this is true incremental demand, not a displacement of existing demand for warehouse square footage," Butcher said.

This is a different spin on the problem facing smaller retailers, which may have something of the opposite situation to deal with.

"Some retail companies could struggle to use the assets they have."
Inventory surpluses
While Amazon and other companies in a similar position could face a drive for leaner operations, others could struggle to use the assets they have. According to CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly, Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business professor Donald Ratajczak commented on this at a recent conference.

The issue, according to Ratajczak, appears to be more about matching inventory and store supply to the actual business market, something that is reportedly too skewed towards excess. Whether or not this is their personal experience, retailers can at least use the tools at their disposal to help shift the balance rather than simply trying to pare things down if that's unnecessary.

Rises in new technology
Retail, like many sectors, might see improvement through use of new technology, and a Supply & Demand Chain Executive article said that the Internet of Things, in particular, is perhaps still an innovation to help improve the retail business dramatically, thanks to smart components and data circulated throughout the supply chain.

Sensing demand and using detailed purchase information constructively, retailers with the IoT capabilities on their side possibly stand to have more efficient supply systems waiting for them if this implementation plays out for the retail world the same way it's predicted to work for other sectors of business.

From a supply chain manager's standpoint, all of this could indicate the strong need to implement successful strategic sourcing to help manage available inventory, space and technology. Sensing data and incorporating this kind of thinking ahead into your work can help you accomplish transformation.
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