Retail Private Label supply chains have become extremely fragmented and complicated. Retailers are relying less on agents and importers and are focusing more on scaling their own product development and direct sourcing operations. Further, given the fact that the U.S. imports are now valued at more than $2.2 trillion, and almost a quarter of those dollars are attributed to consumer goods – $584 billion (U.S Imports and Exports Components and Statistics), it’s no secret that retail sourcing and the associated supply chain process is extremely hard to manage.
In the retail industry, many retailers think about their supply chains only when something is broken – for example, high inventory levels, dissatisfied customers, or supplier management problems. Complicating matters more, consumer behavior is quickly being changed by technology and globalization. Social media is creating new channels for consumers to follow, creating public visibility of supply chains and management wrong-doings, while putting pressure on retailers to utilize these sources of information to respond to changing preferences in order to stay interesting, relevant and socially conscious.
Retailers are under pressure to keep up with the latest trends and innovate by introducing new products to market faster, while keeping their total manufacturing and delivery costs low. In today’s retail environment retailers depend on strategic relationships with their suppliers to create value to develop products and obtain better market-share.
A much deeper value creation may exist through the introduction of Blockchain into the Product Lifecycle Management (Retail PLM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) process – a collaborative process of sharing accurate product data (product attributes, quotes, costing, quality, audits, inspections, compliance and logistics information) across the entire supply chain in real-time. This requires managing diverse structures of data across geographies with disparate supplier partners in a secured network. However, most retail PLM and retail supply chain management software vendors don’t have a strategy for Blockchain and are otherwise silent about Blockchain related developments within their PLM or SCM roadmap(s).
How would the introduction of Blockchain benefit Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) technologies? Let’s consider this short list for starters:
Greater Scalability – Virtually any number of participants, accessing from any number of touchpoints through the entire retail sourcing and supply chain process.
Better Security – Decentralized, distributed electronic product data built on the model of offering absolute security and trust where the digital blocks can only be updated through the consensus of all participants.
Increased Innovation – Opportunities to create new innovative products with shorter lifecycles, as a result of the faster more accurate decentralized architecture.
Quality & Compliance – Addressing quality at every level of the product supply chain, such as raw materials procurement, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, and product handling.
Traceability – Trace back every product to the very origin of the raw material used. By decentralizing the data it would make it impossible for any one party to hold ownership and manipulate the data.
With increasingly fickle and impatient consumer demand and a large network of disparate global supplier’s, retailers need to start looking at new ways to overcome product development and supply chain obstacles: Blockchain methodologies infused into retail PLM and SCM solutions deliver value by enabling greater collaboration, scalability, quality, compliance and traceability across all tiers of the supply chain. Cutting edge technology leaders such as CBX Software have worked hard to scale the flow of information by empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate and establish a single shared view of a product development, sourcing and supply chain transaction set without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. For more information please visit www.cbxsoftware.com.