Fat Face head of supply chain Simon Ratcliffe has argued HR is the missing link that is holding back supply chains across the retail industry.

Speaking at Retail Week’s Supply Chain Summit, Ratcliffe said more robust HR practices would allow greater collaboration between organisations and a better customer experience.

Ratcliffe said different corporate goals and shareholders are holding back collaboration between retailers and third parties such as TNT and DPD, which is proving detrimental to the customer.

“We have to overcome that challenge and agree there is only one customer and only one shared view of the customer,” said Ratcliffe. “Most retailers have better knowledge of the customer but don’t share that customer knowledge with their third parties.”

Ratcliffe said that if retailers and third parties shared the realities of costs and margins with each other then it would “drive profitability for both”.

Through exposing margins and details of delivery chains Ratcliffe believes there are opportunities to deliver to customers faster and more effectively.

That process would require third parties to embed employees at a commercial level rather than just operational, according to Ratcliffe.

“During my time at Marks & Spencer we had DHL staff in Paddington,” said Ratcliffe. “But it was operational execution not commercial customer decision-making and I think that is the gap.”