In the previous blog, we had seen the various solutions/strategies that retailers need to look into to expand their digital footprint. Continuing the journey, we will now look into why modernizing the supply chain and enterprise applications is crucial for a retailer’s long-term success in the present era.

Post COVID-19 world will be a digitally transformed era. The digital-adoption momentum will be carried forward and become permanent giving customers much more freedom of how to shop, when to shop & where to shop. It will also have an impact on a retailer’s omnichannel system and lead to an increase in network volume from customers thereby generating more load on their systems.

On the road ahead, retailers will have to equip their businesses with robust, matured & sturdy enterprise applications & modernize their supply chains to manage customers, inventory as well as valuable business data across multiple stores and touch points.

What do we recommend/ Key Solutions:

While the length of the outbreaks and the potential pace of recovery are still unknown and will differ across markets, technology is here to stay.  Keeping a real-time pulse on evolving customer preferences and rapidly innovating to redesign journeys that matter, will be key. Here is a list of recommendations /transformations that the retail industry can adopt for a “New Normal” and long-term success.

Intelligence enabled planning and allocation suites-

By taking a more proactive approach to planning, retailers can keep up with consumer demand and have a positive impact on the future. Benefits of leveraging Intelligent Planning Suite include:

  1. Ability to optimize assortments to increase inventory’s productivity and profitability. This exercise has to be nimble and scalable for continuous changes in buying preference.
  2. Tailor merchandise to meet the needs of customers specially with current changes being so dynamic in customer’s demands.
  3. Predict and plan demand with greater accuracy using advanced analytics methodologies, including machine learning helping you stay ahead.
  4. Accelerate productivity and achieve an omnichannel maturity at every level of the supply chain process, ensuring every channel provides the same level of customer experience.

Thus retailers need world class allocation and assortment capabilities that can bring the assortment and allocation processes together, respond quickly to changes in demand, while also considering other information like size scale data.

  • With a solution like Blue Yonder, you can achieve a tangible return on your investment by leveraging its superior SaaS-based allocation capabilities, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI)/ machine learning (ML) demand insights.
  • With Blue Yonder’s allocation and assortment capabilities you have the ability to configure methodologies that optimize your inventory investment and can scale with the multiple and changing business strategies you plan to achieve throughout the product lifecycle.

Upgrading the retail merchandising suite

For retailers, the next wave of progress begins with updating their core retail merchandising systems.

A modern Oracle Retail Merchandising puts business analytics at the heart of every process — enabling collaboration and empowering associates with the context to make better decisions faster.

Business benefits have been found to considerably make an impact: (Source: Latest Oracle Merchandising Guidebook)

  • 80% Increase in productivity through more streamlined integrated processes
  • 80% Reduction in invoice matching time
  • 200+merchandising processes supported and driven by science
  • 60%  Reduction in purchase order maintenance
  • Zero Number of custom reports needed to monitor inventory status

Only by changing the core operations will retailers be able to set themselves up for growth and the ability to adjust to new customer journeys in the new normal.

Micro fulfillment centers

With current conditions placing the supply chain under severe strain, retailers are forced to come up with inventive ways to meet consumer demand. One way is through micro-fulfillment centers.

Amid the current global health crisis, these can be incredibly valuable in fulfilling online grocery orders and may see an expansion as retailers look to keep up with demand in the long run.

Upgraded WMS

Today warehouses are busier than ever. They are essential to maintaining some semblance of normality as every country is trying to keep products and essential goods available. Using a feature-rich, robust WMS, will help retailers to get ahead of the constantly changing retail landscape. It helps retailers achieve the following which is crucial for order fulfillment:

Real-time inventory visibility across sales channels:

To fulfill orders profitably, retailers need to have real-time inventory visibility across all channels and intelligent order routing platforms that can:

  1. Minimize delivery times,
  2. Reduce shipping costs, and
  3. Ultimately increase the ROI of your Omnichannel strategies.

Modernizing Enterprise Applications and Supply Chain is a journey that entails several facets. Retailers need to embrace the latest technologies in their context to craft cohesive and robust solutions that can drive compelling customer propositions & optimize costs.

Further, the ability to drive change – be it in the context of mindsets, ways of working, or breaking organizational silos, is crucial to the success of any modernization journey. Adoption and implementation of the above solutions can make it easier for retailers to run their day-to-day activities and make smarter business choices, not only during the COVID-19 outbreak but also in the future.