We have launched a brand new podcast channel: Retail Journey. A channel speaking extensively about latest technology, solutions, best practices, ideas and the future of Retail Industry. You will gather a lot of insights and recommendations on the modern retail IT systems and why they may or may not be the best bet for your business.

In our very first episode, we’re talking to Santhosh Aerabati, Principal JDA solutions consultant with over a decade’s expertise in SCM and WMS.  He will be speaking to us about the importance of modern supply chain systems.


Transcript of the conversation:

How does it help retailers to implement a modern supply chain system?

In the past, Retailers used Supply Chain Management software to bring about supply chain efficiencies. Fortunately, software vendors are increasingly developing software automation features to support strategic, demand driven, global supply chains. Today, implementing modern supply chain system will result in bigger and further sophisticated SCM footprint of an organization—facilitating either additional opportunities or complexities depending upon how the system is deployed and managed.

How can retailers maximize productivity using the latest supply chain systems? Because at times, they have the right system but still they lack in meeting the day-to-day inventory requirements.

Yes, that does happen. And this isn’t any million dollar secret either.‘’Proper planning is the precursor to maximize system capability.’’

At the same time, you should not become overwhelmed by the enormous capabilities available from supply chain systems. Some of which is unnecessary to any particular organization.

In fact, most implementers suggest that they use less than 30 percent of what’s available from their supply chain software. Thus, it is important to ask the right questions, and uncover the right answers. Focus on that portion of the software that delivers the most value, while not diluting your efforts in areas that are little more than a distraction.

According to Business Continuity Institute, 78.6 percent of organizations have inadequate visibility of their supply chains. Considering this, what is driving the need for new SCM software? And how can retailers analyse their situation?

The current supply chain system is over stressed, outdated or inadequate. Thus, it is essential to perform a gap analysis and identify inefficiencies, core problems and missed opportunities.

Now, you can do this by assessing your business needs and find the gaps where the current SCM software does not enable or support those requirements.

  1. Develop a complete list of prioritized and weighted gaps
  2. Derive the measurable benefits from resolving those gaps
  3. You get the critical success factor and valuable components in supporting the business case for a new SCM system.

How can retailers define their SCM requirements, scope and goals?

We are not talking about an umbrella solution over here. SCM software benefits and requirements that are intuitive and obvious to one retailer may be different for another. Most of the times, it is commonly noticed that retailers’ requirements uncovered in the supply chain software selection process evolved into something different during the implementation.

So, the best thing to do is:

  1. take time and deliberate to map out the prioritized expectations of all the key stakeholders
  2. build a roadmap that establishes the SCM initiative goals, requirements and scope

This is critical to the implementation team’s success.

How about handling risk tolerance?

SCM system risks come in many forms. These include the risks of staying with the existing system versus going with a fresh system. One category of risks is implementation related. Good project management mitigates this risk.

Globalization increases the level of business risk and heightens both the likelihood and impact of occurrence. From a retailer’s perspective, a supply chain strategy should include a risk management assessment and identify mitigating solutions for the full range of risks across all SCM subsystems.

According to you, what is the best of breed SCM system? Or is having an integrated suite, the right approach?

This is the tricky part! We have two approaches here:

  1. An integrated suite of SCM solutions
  2. Select best of breed software systems

Depending on retailers business and IT requirements, the second approach of the best of breed software systems might be the best choice to gain specific software feature sets or automation. However, this approach generally requires IT to build interfaces between systems. The integrated suites often deliver a single system of record and broader process automation. Typically, they are easier to implement since interfaces are already built. And end to end business process support is delivered out of the box. There will also be third party add-on specialty applications that supplement either approach.

I would say retailers are spoilt with good choices to select from.

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Veena Gowda

Veena Gowda

Deputy Manager Marketing at Aspire Systems
Veena is an assertive Technology Solutions Evangelist with more than a decade of experience spanning across industries from enterprises to start-ups. A voracious reader and poet at heart, she also dabbles in content writing for pleasure. For Veena, Change is the key factor that keeps any technology interesting.
Veena Gowda