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The Retail Supply Chain Landscape in 2019

Dave Graham-LINK2019

I just gave a presentation at the LINK Retail Supply Chain Conference in Orlando about the most pressing challenges retailers face concerning their supply chains in 2019. I developed the presentation based on the insights Gravity Supply Chain has gathered from talking with retailers across the globe. You can download the presentation by clicking here.

In the presentation, I identified three significant hurdles retailers face relative to their supply chains:

  1. There is an inadequate degree of visibility in the supply chain, with the journey of a product between factory and DC often being a black box. Low levels of visibility make it hard to see and mitigate risks, weaken proactive decision making, and undermine on-shelf availability.

  2. Today’s consumers demand instant gratification. They want fast, reliable and consistent delivery, in days and not weeks. Their loyalty is contingent on how quickly their needs get met, and they are willing to switch brands if retailers can’t get them the products they want, when they want.

  3. We are living in uncertain times, with higher levels of demand volatility, an unstable economic environment (e.g., tariff wars, Brexit), political unpredictability and severe weather patterns. All of these factors disrupt retail supply chains.

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To grapple with these challenges, I argued that the best retailers are adopting supply chain management solutions that are agile, seamless and agnostic (agnostic meaning that they aren’t dependent on a particular supplier, or system). More specifically, such solutions tick the following boxes:

  • They have high levels of visibility of the supply chain, with no blind spots (often achieved through IoT technology).

  • They execute quickly.

  • They operate end-to-end, from factory to shelf.

  • They are driven by real time data.

  • They support multiple vendors and channels.

  • They have an international and in-country scope.

  • They predict and advise, not just report.

  • They deliver substantial ROI.

The presentation was received well by the attendees who agreed that such solutions are business critical in today’s retail environment.

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I hope you found this recap of the presentation helpful, and feel free to download the complete presentation by clicking here.

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