Magazine Article | March 26, 2012

Supply Chain Transformation: Caught In The Headlights

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

April 2012 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

By Brian Kilcourse, managing partner, Retail Systems Research (RSR)

For the first time since the bar code, retailers are challenged to think about how their operations models are constructed.

In RSR’s benchmark study entitled Retail Supply Chain 2012: Globalization, Localization, and Cross-Channel, retailer responses reveal that cross-channel challenges appear to be eclipsed by localization and globalization. Even so, it has been having a major impact on retailers’ supply chain designs. So, as retailers struggle with rethinking how to assort inventory across a broader range of cultures and align that assortment against the unique global nature of consumer goods manufacturing, cross-channel challenges are still there, lying just beneath the surface. And the demands for inventory flexibility that a crosschannel strategy makes on supply chain are only beginning to be felt. In the relatively slow world of supply chain evolution, globalization — a trend that has been creeping up for decades — has taken a big upswing, in part thanks to the economic uncertainties of mature retail markets. But, cross-channel’s impact is the wrench in the works that makes retailers’ global plans — and local ones — that much more difficult to execute.