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From the Desk of Kim Zablocky: Retailers, It's Time to Get Off the Sidelines

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 10, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Retailers ask me every day about the value of RVCF membership. I could get deep in the weeds about various RVCF services and benefits of membership, and I'll mention a few at the end of this article. But there's a much simpler answer to that question. Real work is being done by RVCF and our retailer members to come up with real solutions to supply chain problems.

This work is being done during RVCF Fall and Spring Conferences, where retailers can meet face-to-face with peers and trading partners and discuss issues that just don't get enough attention at other conferences. More than 55 U.S. retailer members and conference participants don't just show up, deliver presentations, and attend sessions. They don't just send salespeople looking for leads.

The people in compliance, inventory management, operations, vendor relations and other key areas that are essential to moving merchandise through the supply chain as quickly as possible are there to collaborate and solve problems. They work together to identify best practices for sales and operations planning, scorecards, supplier relationship management, supplier onboarding, inventory management, and omni-channel. Instead of taking a piecemeal approach, we cover the full buffet so everyone can better understand how all of these issues affect each other.

For example, the importance of omni-channel is discussed at every industry conference. But what does it take to make omni-channel possible across the broad spectrum of touch points along the supply chain? Scorecarding is another popular topic at industry events. But scorecarding isn't just about sending a piece of paper to the supplier because other retailers are doing it. It has to have value and use the appropriate metrics so the scorecard serves as a springboard for supply chain improvement. Our retailer membership gets into the nitty gritty of these and other issues at RVCF conferences.

To be clear, collaboration doesn't just happen twice per year at our conferences. Our retailer-only open forum conference calls offer our retailer members a monthly opportunity to learn from and share information with their peers. As we've been discussing in this newsletter, supplier onboarding has been a popular topic during these calls. What processes are working? Which processes have been tried and didn't work? How can requirements be better communicated to suppliers? What is the best way to achieve compliance as quickly as possible?

These monthly conference calls have grown exponentially in the past year because they represent peer-to-peer collaboration at its finest. Instead of talking in circles or airing grievances, RVCF retailer members are coming up with solutions that get merchandise to the floor faster. And if you want to continue the conversation instead of waiting until the next call, RVCF members can lead or participate in discussions on open forum boards on the RVCF website.

If you want to be a part of this movement to drive positive change, you have to be an RVCF member. Only RVCF members get exclusive, members-only rates to RVCF conferences. Only RVCF members can participate in these retailer-only open conference calls every month, as often as they would like. Only RVCF members have unlimited access to information through the RVCF website. Otherwise, it wouldn't be fair to existing RVCF members – members who represent a wide range of product lines but share a common goal of progress through collaboration.

Here are a few of the more popular perks of RVCF membership for retailers:

One-on-One Meetings. Our retailer members can have pre-scheduled meetings with suppliers at RVCF conferences. We'll provide a list of suppliers that want to meet with the retailer and the desired topics of discussion. Then we'll schedule meetings with only those suppliers that have been approved by the retailer. This is actually the top reason why suppliers attend RVCF conferences.

Retailer Collaboration Groups. If you don't have the technology or capability to quickly post, update and share requirements, you can set up a secure compliance portal on the RVCF website. We've already built the tool for you. Having a Retailer Collaboration Group enables retailer members to post requirements and alert suppliers of changes in real time. As part of this service, RVCF will also import, verify and clean up your supplier contacts, whether they're RVCF members or not, to ensure that the right people get the right information.

Portal Review. Many retailers use compliance guides, portals or both to communicate requirements with suppliers. However, guides and portals can become complex and confusing over time as more data is added and changed. RVCF conducts portal reviews to ensure that retailer guides and portals are aligned and content is easy for suppliers to find.

Of course, the greatest value of RVCF to retailers is access to peers and trading partners. If you want to improve supply chain performance and meet the demands of today's consumer, there is no substitute for direct collaboration. We encourage retailers to join RVCF and take full advantage of the benefits of membership. Let our members help you and learn from you so everyone can benefit.

(646) 442-3473

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Tags:  RVCF Membership 

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