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Buy time with a shorter, more connected supply chain

Guest Post: Dave Sheekey, Director, Solution Principal, Merchandise Lifecycle Management, Aptos In our previous blog, we discussed how retailers can accelerate the production lifecycle by digitizing their processes. Here we… View Article

RETAIL SOLUTIONS

Buy time with a shorter, more connected supply chain

Guest Post: Dave Sheekey, Director, Solution Principal, Merchandise Lifecycle Management, Aptos

In our previous blog, we discussed how retailers can accelerate the production lifecycle by digitizing their processes. Here we look at how transforming and connecting your supply chain can help you save even more time and make your business more agile.

One thing we all learned during the pandemic is that supply chains have to change. Lengthy chains — that were vulnerable to disruption and delays — were behind many of the product shortages and price hikes we experienced on a wide range of products.

Even when parts of the world started emerging from lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions, the six-day blockage of the Suez Canal in March caused further havoc for global shipping and trade. And the ripple effects are still being felt months later.

So how can retailers make their supply chains slicker and more resilient?

One option is to make the supply chain physically shorter by bringing production closer to home. Of course, onshoring and near-shoring bring their own challenges. Can you even find a local manufacturer? How will you take the difference in local wages and other costs into account? Setting all of that up can be a lengthy process, but many retailers need to find a solution more quickly.

See more, know more

Alternatively, you can use technology to streamline the links in your supply chain and make the chain as a whole more resilient. Typically, the organizations in your supply chain will communicate and track information on a one-to-one basis. But that doesn’t provide the end-to-end view you need to be proactive and control outcomes.

With the right technology, however, you can connect all the links in the chain more closely by ensuring accurate, timely information at every step, and enabling better collaboration across the ecosystem. You’ll know when the goods you ordered leave the factory, when they’re loaded up at the departure port, when the ship is due to arrive at the port of entry, and when those goods are on the truck that’s bringing them to your warehouse.

Most importantly, because you can track the whole of that shipment’s journey, you’ll have prior warning of any events — such as slow progress through customs — that may lead to a delay in those goods arriving.

Reduce the cost and impact of disruption

If you don’t know until the last minute that a shipment has been delayed, you could find yourself scrambling to make alternative plans. On the other hand, the more notice you have of a delay, the more time you have to take appropriate action. So you’ll be much better placed to reduce disruption to your business, lessen the financial impact, and do whatever it takes to keep your customers happy.

Let’s say a shipment of items you were planning to promote on a certain date gets held up. If you’re alerted to that far enough in advance, you can avoid wasting time on store set-ups that have to be taken down; and you can even switch to promoting an alternative product. And whether you’re selling in store or online, you can save sales of delayed goods by enabling consumers to buy them in advance against a promised delivery date.

Making it happen

Building a more connected and resilient supply chain depends on replacing individual information exchanges with a multi-enterprise network. That enables participants up and down the supply chain to access information, analytics and real-time KPIs that transform the entire chain from reactive to predictive — so everyone can preview where bottlenecks might occur and where the risks ultimately sit.

You can make this transformation happen with Aptos Supply Chain Management. It can be combined with other Aptos digital capabilities to provide a Merchandise Lifecycle Management solution that makes planning, designing, assorting and delivering your collections more efficient. And it integrates with third-party systems to provide the visibility and control to create a more connected, streamlined and resilient supply chain.

To find out how Aptos can help your retail operation, click here.

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