Supply chain is a hotbed of data innovation and, as retailers jostle to keep up with sky-high consumer demands, the real winners will be those that unlock the potential this offers.
Whether it be warehouse robotics at Ocado and Alibaba, one-hour delivery and local fulfilment-from-store at Amazon and Schuh, or shelf-scanners and stock-monitoring at Walmart, there’s exciting stuff going on – and we can all learn from it.
This comes across loud and clear in Retail Re-engineered, an in-depth report by Retail Week, produced in association with Sorted and Isobar.
“86% of those surveyed said they are investing up to 30% more in their supply chain than they were three years ago”
For the research, we asked top bosses from 44 of the UK’s largest retailers what changes they see ahead as the industry undergoes massive transformation.
Some 86% of those surveyed said they are investing up to 30% more in their supply chain than they were three years ago.
However, for most retailers huge competitive advantage is available to those who put that investment into supply chain data.
Many are now investing in improving their systems and partnering with expert suppliers to connect previously siloed data, meaning the complexities of fragmented data sources in the supply chain are totally simplified.
This can include a single view over their stock holding, their customers or their carriers.
The opportunities this will afford are substantial. Take Trouva, for example. The company uses data to maximum effect.
“We’re extremely smart at connecting the dots, and that is how we’ve built our brand and that is the value we are creating for the end customer”
Alex Loizou, Trouva
Trouva is an ecommerce site connecting independent bricks-and-mortar retailers with a global audience. It delivers on customer expectation while making the process financially viable for its retail partners.
“We don’t own any inventory, we don’t own any logistics, we don’t own any payments, we don’t own any warehouses, but we’re extremely smart at connecting the dots, and that is how we’ve built our brand and that is the value we are creating for the end customer,” Trouva co-founder and chief technology officer Alex Loizou tells Retail Week.
With the market being driven towards increasingly convenient options for the consumer, encouraged by retailers such as Amazon, a deeper understanding of data will only become more important.
Investment, however, is critical.
Driving efficiencies in the supply chain will not only reduce costs, it will also boost revenues and maximise the lifetime value of customers as they return time and again to the retailers they know will truly deliver on delivery.
Andrew Hill is sales director at Sorted