ASN Best Practices for Vendors & Retailers
Retailer Open Forum
Supplier Open Forum
2014 Spring Conference
Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa
SAVE THE DATES!
2014 Fall Conference
Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
Caught Off Guard this Holiday Season
Tamara Saucier, GT Nexus
Retailers were ready this year. After all of the talk about online sales, omni-channel retail, and same day delivery, retailers were ready to re-write the holiday shopping season playbook by running leaner in-store while being faster and more responsive on the supply chain side, retaining fewer staff in-store and less inventory on shelves, and keeping more workers in warehouses and DC's. All of the pipework was in place for the online shopping rush. The shopping faucets were turned on early, starting well before Thanksgiving. Time to deliver the goods...
In the end, the National Retail Federation estimates that online purchases this holiday season accounted for 14% of sales - a 15% increase from last year, according to Forrester Research. But somewhere there was a clear disconnect. Shipments were missed. Gifts didn't arrive. Ironically, one retail analyst commented that the unanticipated volume of online holiday buying this year may have been the biggest problem for retailers. A Forrester Research analyst stated that in general, 15% of online shoppers who order items by retailers' specified cutoff dates don't get their packages by Christmas Eve.1
For consumers this adds up to extreme frustration and dissatisfaction. For retailers, this calls out an inability to effectively meet consumer demand. Given what's at stake for retailers not only in the holiday season, but with their core annual assortment in the struggle to capture customers, there's a clear priority for 2014: Improving supply chain and logistics execution.
Retailers added more fulfillment centers and infrastructure this holiday season to handle surging online orders. Amazon brought in an additional 70,000 seasonal workers for its U.S. warehouses; this still wasn't enough. What's missing is the ability to see into the production and delivery of goods - end to end - to know exactly where all inventory and components are at all times. When retailers begin operating their supply chains as networks, where everyone is plugged in and can collaborate on a single set of information, they can start the journey towards meeting today's consumer demand. Once a retailer has a dashboard view of the entire network, they can begin to layer in big data and analytics to help make better and smarter decisions that are more in-line with true demand. They can start knowing the true cost of making decisions. This opens the door to a new world where systems of various parties interact and engage using real-time data. Decisions can be made based on optimal outputs - the primary goal being to deliver goods on-time at the lowest possible cost.