Is Your Data Supply Chain Ready to Serve Your Customers?

Supply chain
Updates from Retail Supply Chain Summit

In this “always on” era of connected consumers, pricing isn’t enough to attract business and drive growth. You need to;

  • Deliver personalized offers that expand wallet share and strengthen your brand
  • Provide a consistently satisfying experience across any and all channels your customers use
  • Meet demand while managing inventory and optimizing the supply chain

I recently hosted a roundtable session at the Retail Supply Chain Summit and the key themes that kept surfacing were collaboration (internal & external), breaking down the silos and extracting the right information for reporting and analytics to better serve the customer.

However, moving from an application, product or brand centric view to a supplier and customer centric view has proved very challenging. This has impacted on their ability to;

  • Manage supplier risk
  • Monitor supplier performance
  • Evaluate spend management
  • On-board suppliers and products faster
  • Improve supplier relationship management

While everybody agreed they needed to do better on all fronts most had different approaches and are at different stages in tackling the problems.

The goal is clear; reduce the lead time from source to the consumer by treating the supply chain as a whole, not as a collection of separated silos. But any flaw in the supply chain e.g. late delivery, out of stock or inconsistency in product detail can result in a poor customer and damage your brand as shoppers are quick to share their experience through social channels.

What’s getting in the way?

Supplier information is scattered across systems: Not all business-critical supplier information or vendor information is in one system. It’s scattered across applications and business units

Inconsistent supplier identities: “The Coca-Cola Company” could be the name of the supplier in one system, while “Coke” could be the supplier name in another system. Supplier names could be in different languages.

Supplier information changes all the time: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, every hour, 240 companies move and change address, 150 companies change phone numbers, 20 companies close their doors, four companies change names, and 5,769 people change jobs.

No automatic updates: Updating supplier information in one system doesn’t automatically propagate the update to all other systems.

Too much data:  Data drives more effective marketing, more accurate decision-making, and better choices about product assortments and supplier negotiations. But how do you manage the flood of data pouring in from internal and external systems, suppliers, partners, and devices?

Lay the Foundations for Improved Supplier Relations and Enhanced Customer Experience

Correct, complete data is the only driver for making informed decisions about who your suppliers, customers are, what they want, when and why they buy, and what might help you serve them better, including improved supplier relationships.

Retailers who hope to turn data into greater productivity and profitability must take steps to free it from multiple systems—internal and external— and integrate it into a single source of truth that’s complete, timely, and easily managed.

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