By Wolfgang Hoffman

Most consumers never considered how goods arrived at stores, but retailers certainly have been toiling over how to establish and streamline inventory delivery and fulfillment systems for decades. The conversation has shifted, however, as #supply chain issues have been dominating the news cycles over the last few weeks. 

The Covid outbreak caused early factory closures and reduced workforces which created pent-up demand in manufacturing and now shortages in container availability and export/import bottlenecks.  A painful chain reaction just in time for the holiday season. So how can retailers modernize their fulfillment and stave off future supply chain roadblocks?

  1. Address your product development and assortment. The pandemic fundamentally shifted consumer behavior and demand. With a greater need for home furnishings and comfortable clothing, retailers found themselves with the wrong inventory regardless of seasonality and LY trends.  Brands now need to strive to form a multi-enterprise platform to connect with all manufacturing, delivery and sales partners for consistent and simultaneous collaboration. This will allow for real-time pivots and reduce production steps, thus increasing speed to market.

  2. Pursue full visibility into the supply chain.  The next priority for supply chain resilience involves increasing visibility and opening channels of communication to help retailers and partners react swiftly. Digitizing and leveraging third-party data streams (including tariff updates, order status, production and labor capacity) will reduce manual data inputs and tracking, allowing retailers better manage disruption and maintain timely collaboration.  

  3. Omni-channel, there, we said it. Connect your supply chain to optimize the customer experience. Being agile allowed for some retailers to leverage stores during the pandemic as shipping and fulfillment centers, allowing for improved delivery times and improved customer satisfaction. Assortment management should also be more dynamic, relying less on past sales data and more on fluid, consumer buying behaviors. This will enable shifts between e-comm and in-store channels more effortlessly.

Don’t know where to begin in modernizing your supply chain? Let #Columbus Consulting International collaborate with you. Our network of industry practitioners have been there and done that already. Now celebrating 20 years of industry leadership, Columbus Consulting can guide you into and through 2022 with greater efficiency and less disruption.

Connect with one of our experts