Request A Demo

Three Top Predictions For The Retail Supply Chain In 2019

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Customer volatility will grow in 2019, as Gen Z consumers, who are often considered more fickle than previous generations, will become the largest segment of the customer base. To keep pace with demand volatility, retailers will look to digitize the pre-production phase of their supply chains.

  • Beyond digitization, retailers will start planning on how to make their supply chains cognitive by design; this means having a supply chain requiring less human intervention, allowing AI and ML to make optimizations 'on the fly,' based on predictive and prescriptive functionality.

  • Retail supply chains will get supported by distributed technologies such as IoT devices collecting data at the edge (or close to where a supply chain critical event occurs), allowing retailers to receive the data with minimal latency, enabling them the opportunity to make changes immediately, and vastly improving customer service.

Happy New Year! As we kick off 2019, we decided to ask members of the team at Gravity Supply Chain Solutions what their predictions were for the retail supply chain this year. 'Hot off the press' are three of our top predictions!

top3-prediction-blog-banner

1. Greater Customer Volatility

Generation Z (16 to 21-year-old) consumers are predicted to be the largest generation of consumers over the next two years. In a previous blog, we mentioned how Gen Z grew up using social media platforms, and how as a result, they are heavily influenced by online peers compared to previous generations.  These influences have, in turn, resulted in consumer preferences undergoing a rapid rate of change. Retailers will find it a challenge to keep pace with the fluctuating demands of this younger generation which will make them look to digitize their supply chain management processes, helping them increase their speed to market as new products suddenly become fashionable and on-trend.

Greater customer volatility

Retailers can expect to achieve the most significant gains in speed to market if they digitize their pre-production phase, i.e. from design brief to production. This phase typically involves a lot of manual procedures, such as sourcing quotes from many different vendors, which is a time-consuming process, especially if done manually. In a best case scenario for a supply chain using mostly analog processes, digitization can automate, and thereby reduce the pre-production phase of a retailer from 15 weeks down to five weeks, which equates to a staggering 67 percent reduction!

2. Making Supply Chains Cognitive By Design

To further improve their speed to market and ensure in-store availability in the years to come, retailers will start planning on how to move beyond a digitized supply chain, to one which is cognitive by design. A cognitive supply chain is powered by AI and ML, employing predictive and prescriptive analytics to predict changes in demand, making data-driven optimizations to achieve timely delivery autonomously, with little or no need for human intervention. Once supply chains become cognitive, they will be entirely consumer-centric, and outward facing, enabling retailers to satisfy their customers in the fastest, smartest, and most efficient way possible.

Making supply chains cognitive

There are multiple stages involved in adopting a fully cognitive supply chain. As such, very few retailers will be immediately ready and capable of leaping into what they might consider the 'unknown.' The journey begins with digitizing the supply chain - the first stepping stone to becoming cognitive in the long run. Our whitepaper, scheduled for release in late January 2019, will examine the stages involved in creating a cognitive supply chain. Don't forget to keep an eye out for it!

3. The Supply Chain Will Have The Support Of Distributed Technology

Distributed technology, like IoT devices that collect data at the edge (i.e., as close as possible to where an event happens), will support the supply chain. Such devices minimize the latency at which data gets received concerning factors which adversely impact the supply chain (such as data on logistics disruptions), allowing optimizations that benefit the end consumer to get made instantly. For example, at Gravity Supply Chain Solutions, we use IoT sensors to track the location, ETA, temperature, humidity, pressure, light, and shock conditions for goods in transit. As a result, retailers can know ahead of time if the conditions of their products have deteriorated in transit, or if their shipment experiences delay, and if so how to take quick action (such as ordering replacement items) to ensure on-time, in-full delivery and not miss out on sales opportunities.

Distributed technology

Download The Whitepaper On Supply Chain Synchronization

If you’d like to make your retail business future-proof, and ready to withstand the pressures of 2019 and beyond, your supply chain needs to be synchronized to ensure that all parts of the chain run seamlessly together, and do not bottleneck one another. Download our latest whitepaper to understand how to achieve supply chain synchronization.

Supply-Chain-Synchronization-whitepaper-banner

Or Fill In The Below Form To Schedule A Demo Of Our Retail Supply Chain Solutions

See other blog posts by me