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Pete Palazzolo, Where the Retailer Supply Chain Must Improve
In previous blog postings and podcasts that I’ve done on What’s Next Retail, I focused on a lot of the challenges that retailers are facing along the supply chain, particularly as it relates to retailers that have expanded into omni-channel selling. Omni-channel selling, of course, is where they’re integrating their web and stores and catalogs and other types of selling that they might do. Let’s get a baseline perspective here: where should retailers be starting at to improve their supply chain? Where are the various places along the line that they really need to get started to improve their entire supply chain?
The answer starts with the business process analysis. It’s time to be objective and do an honest analysis if the supply chain business processes that you’re using today will enable you to deliver on the customer service and the brand experience goals you have for the company going forward. Most organizations will see opportunities for improvement in this area. A lot of us arrive where we are a little bit by happenstance and reaction, and with the omni-channel becoming real and becoming expected by consumers, it’s time to step back and take a look at how we’re doing things and say, “How can we improve? How can we be more efficient?”
The second thing you want to do, then, is take advantage of technology that enables those processes to happen in an efficient manner. And of course you’re going to want the right people in charge running your organization. So it’s a combination of people, process, and technology that are going to put retailers where they need to be for the long run.
What I’m finding is that a lot of the decisions that are being made today at retailers are made by a combination of the CIO and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). And that’s something that I didn’t see several years ago. Typically it was the technology people making these decisions, and so technology for the sake of technology was the primary driver. Right now, because of the importance of having a consistent brand presence across all media vehicles, retail outlets, and retail channels, the CMO is heavily involved and is working hand-in-hand with the CIO to make sure they can deliver both the technical and the brand experience that customers are looking for.
I’ll talk in future blog posts about how both organizations will continue to move closer to ensure a deeper customer relation.