Top 5 Recommendations for Choosing the Best Retail Sourcing Software
By Christopher Ryan, April 3, 2018
Retail sourcing technology solutions enable global retailers to satisfy the preferences of the increasingly fickle consumer by focusing on price, quality and speed to market through superior retail supply chain management. Today’s evolving technology also helps retail organizations increase their profit margins through the optimization of private label product development and delivery. Currently, many companies use homegrown legacy software, spreadsheets and e-mail tools for their product development and retail sourcing processes. These antiquated methods, however, are littered with inconsistencies and redundancies that hinder internal retail teams as the continuity of information fades with each step of the process. Retail sourcing software compresses the supply chain and adds visibility to the individual steps that make up the entire end-to-end supply chain. Today’s software solutions gives retail businesses an opportunity to simplify the exceedingly complex retail supply chain and has created a business solution that can cause an immediate positive impact on the bottom line.
The retail sourcing software competitive landscape includes several players; however, the definitions of offerings in the marketplace are inconsistent. For example, while traditional retail sourcing software focuses entirely on supplier management, price negotiations and supplier scorecards, the top sourcing platforms consists of a more formal end-to-end approach combined with Critical Path Management that go way beyond simple RFI/RFQ’s and helps retailers manage the end-to-end supply chain from multiple aspects, including product development, sourcing, quality, compliance, supplier management all the way through delivery. While most of the retail industry’s sourcing software is used predominately by the sourcing or procurement teams, the best retail sourcing software platforms are deployed throughout a retailer’s business; across multiple teams, geographies and time-zones.
With end-to-end capabilities, the top retail sourcing software systems go above and beyond the traditional industry offerings. The addition of Critical Path Management to the capabilities of the traditional retail sourcing software allows companies to add visibility and uncover the information gaps of the entire supply chain onto one integrated platform. This means that each step in the production of a product is tracked from its conception all the way to its delivery.
This integrated platform solves all of the major problems experienced by retailers who attempt to navigate the complex retail supply chain with spreadsheets or fragmented sourcing software. The single integrated platform increases visibility, automation and works in tandem with automatic real-time updates to clear formerly murky waters as the product traverses the supply chain. These platforms also eliminate calendar conflicts that plague companies who deal with global retail sourcing. With the best retail sourcing software solutions, the hassle of e-mail and telephone tag for global organizations attempting to coordinate schedules across different time zones is over. Enabling decision making to be less reactive and more responsive by providing decision support that models scenarios and recommends solutions.
In choosing the best retail sourcing software solutions, we recommend looking for these top five characteristics:
End-To-End Capability – Retail sourcing software will benefit your organization the most if users across the organization are able to receive updates and information for the entire product lifecycle, including; development, sourcing, supplier compliance, quality, sampling, production, delivery and not just fragments of it.
Intuitive Design – technology is great, except for when internal and external teams don’t know how to use it.
Customer Support – this software serves as an investment in an organization’s future success, so it is reasonable to require the company delivering the software to invest in your success as well.
Product Fit – some sourcing software has inherent strengths that lend themselves better to certain products/industries than others. Make sure the solution you choose is the right fit for your business. (ie: whether or not the platform is built to handle the intricacies and detail of food, general merchandise, apparel etc.)
Affordability – This software will certainly improve your company’s long-term profitability, but make sure that the initial capital investment will not negatively impact your company’s ability to make the necessary business decisions now that will result in short-term growth – Implement in phases and scale when needed.
In summation, strategic sourcing software solutions offer numerous benefits. In addition to increased visibility, communication, and reliability; streamlined quality assurance and guaranteed compliance with societal and regulatory standards also act as immense benefits. In a world where retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart are boxing out smaller companies from competing, sourcing software solutions represent a viable opportunity for companies to once again experience consistency and growth in the retail market. To learn more about today’s retail sourcing, PLM software (retail PLM) and supply chain management (SCM) tools or for more information about CBX Software please Contact Us or visit www.cbxsoftware.com.