Global Sourcing Software Results In Supply Chain Automation
By Mark Hudson, April 16, 2018
In today’s competitive retail industry bankruptcies and store closures dominate the daily news, retailers and brands face a myriad of pains and issues just to survive. To maintain their margins and competitiveness and ensure survival, retailers rely on strategies such as sourcing direct from suppliers and increasing their retail sourcing and private label programs.
Retail supply chains are incredibly complex, with multiple steps, processes and milestones involved from a product concept or planning stage to the point of product delivery and sale to the customer. In order for new competitive strategies to work, retailers need to ensure that their supply chains are fully optimized with built in visibility, collaboration and efficiency. As the number of private label sku’s sourced increases, numerous functional areas in different countries need to collaborate and plan to respond to change effectively.
If global communication and collaboration is ineffective, bottlenecks occur, production and delivery dates are missed, margins are squeezed, consumers look elsewhere and the bottom line takes a hit. Often production delays are the result of not being able to automatically connect information from a multitude of different supplier processes quickly, and accurately. Information required through the retail product lifecycle (Retail PLM) comes from different sources including spreadsheets, emails and third party disparate systems and there is often no automatic way to overlay this information into one clear view.
Existing product workflow and sourcing management tools, such as spreadsheets, product trackers and/or weekly roll-up meetings, are often times manually intensive and time consuming. Below I have listed other common issues with existing retail sourcing and supply chain management practices.
Spreadsheet silos: Spreadsheets are usually held in different locations by different users and updates are not automatically shared, which means there are often multiple versions of the truth.
Information consolidation: Large organizations comply with many different processes both internally and externally and most current sourcing management methods are not able to automatically roll-up the disparate order related information into one view.
Calendar conflicts: Within global retail sourcing, different teams operate under their own calendars which mean different holidays, working hours and schedules.
Resource planning: Since current retail sourcing practices are not able to automatically consolidate information centrally, it is difficult to effectively reallocate resources in the case of a critical event or emergency.
Decision support: Most existing sourcing management methods are not able to roll up the data to enable responsive decision making.
How does Retail Sourcing Software help to scale retail private label products and overcome the common issues in the Retail Supply Chain?
Retail Sourcing Software helps to automate and manage the entire retail private label product from concept to delivery through innovative PLM Software (retail PLM). It incorporates information from the planning, product development, sourcing, production and logistics stages into a complete view in real-time, enabling a responsive supply chain. Through sourcing automation, supplier management and data collection, sourcing management tools are able to view personalized dashboards which roll up data by department, supplier, project or season. These retail sourcing tools provide color coded indicators which suggest areas that require various levels of action.
ISourcing management tools are forward thinking and designed to help retailers navigate the complexity of today’s retail sourcing environment. While it is currently used to some extent by retailers, the potential of retail sourcing and supply chain, combined with retail PLM is only beginning to be utilized. In today’s difficult economic and retail climate, retailers will continue to look for ways to optimize their operations and reduce costs. Increasingly they will turn to tools such as sourcing management tools to enable automation, efficiency and savings.