By Inez Blackburn, Retail Expert/Marketing Consultant
The best supply chains aren’t just fast and cost-effective. They must be designed in a way that leverages technology to allow full visibility. Knowledge is most powerful when it is shared in an environment that promotes collaboration. If you want a supply chain that is agile and adaptable, make sure that all your processes are anchored to a positive customer experience. Too often, companies limit their view of their supply chain and in doing so limit their customer experience. If you want to create a demand driven supply chain you need to give credence to the flow of information. Flow can happen if you have full access to information that results in one version of the truth.
Revolutions begin long before they are officially declared. For many years businesses have been struggling with how to increase profits through productivity and have concluded that new strategies and competitive realities demand new skills, processes, and technologies. The days of driving market share through price and promotion are over, as consumers today want the fountain of youth at a discount. Reacting to your customers’ current needs is not enough, as you must understand the evolution of your customers’ requirements over time. In order to do this you must understand what motivates them to buy and what drives them to tears. Accurately forecasting demand requires knowledge of key influences at the point of purchase, as well as social, psychological, and situational forces. But don’t limit your focus to the demand forecast, as your merchandising and promotion plan must be factored into to your supply chain strategy.