Real-time, integrated systems provide rapid responses.
Collaboration is key to building strong relationships with your most profitable vendors. Retailers need to see beyond their current inventory levels into real-time inbound inventory information held by suppliers. With purchase order lifecycle management (POLM) playing a larger role for retailers, it's recognized that supply chain management (SCM) technology can enable quick reaction to market shifts and unforeseen delivery problems.
Strong POLM functionality gives retailers the ability to define a tracking system to monitor processes. Automated alerts based on user-defined thresholds allow retailers to solve problems before they arise. A solid merchandising solution gives retailers the tools to handle the challenges of inventory planning and the processes that create business value. The right product assortment increases customer satisfaction and enables retailers to sell more merchandise at full price. Next year, more retailers will use integrated collaboration solutions to monitor new products through the manufacturing process, as well as track fluctuating shipping dates.
When a merchandising solution is used in conjunction with an SCM solution, retailers receive up-to-date delivery information translating into faster time-to-market and increased sell-through, as well as a reduction in inventory carrying costs. An SCM application also provides the ability to manage the various steps of the supply chain effectively and to use technology to enable vendors to be more reliable and more responsive. Relying on historic data and inventory levels can be dangerous to the bottom line. Complete supply chain visibility allows partners to work more closely and, as a result, build stronger alliances that translate into profits for both parties. Web-based, security-driven collaborative tools enable accurate, up-to-date, easy communication amongst partners throughout the supply chain. Exception-based tracking and reporting help identify and correct problems before they become critical. In order to maximize ROI, retailers and vendors have to standardize practices and technology that will deliver the infrastructure to enable closer collaboration.
What Should SCM Applications Offer?