Retailers are frustrated and tired.

➔ Tired of late shipments and stock-outs.

➔ Tired of shipments stuck at ports.

➔ Tired of talking about supply chain disruption.

We are done with constantly shifting gears, painfully getting products onto shelves while responding to shifts in consumer behaviour.

From the effects of the COVID pandemic to political turmoil to outdated ways of working – disruptions have become commonplace. And it’s all we talk about. Instead of talking, what we need is a way out.

  • The quick fixes and band aid solutions are not acceptable anymore.
  • Thinking and operating in silos should be a thing of the past.
  • Old ways of working and not learning from disruption must come to an end.

It’s time to take action and reimagine how we’ve been managing our supply chains.

Here are five ways to help you do just that:

  1. Education – Having a clear understanding of what makes up the supply chain; educating your teams on the product journey from end-to-end is critical. Breaking down silos and having cross-functional teams work together will keep you ahead of the chaos, allowing teams to be proactive versus reactive.
  2. Increased Visibility – Real-time track and trace enables nimble responses versus not knowing where products are. Modernizing the supply chain will allow retailers and suppliers to be resilient and minimize inaccuracies in inventory.
  3. Diversify – From hard-goods to apparel to paper products, no matter the vertical, raw materials and production is most commonly managed overseas. Consider domestic or near-shoring options to diversify your vendors and partners, getting you faster to market while helping you avoid long lead times.
  4. Partnerships Building deeper relationships with wholesalers, vendors and factory partners will drive mutual respect and transparency, creating win-win alliance. Managing consumer demand and volatility in the marketplace can be better managed with a true partner.
  5. Enable Technology Tools like automation, machine learning, RFID tags and predictive analytics allow teams to be proactive when disruption hits. Teams can focus on re-deploying products versus chasing down products to meet demand.

A bandaid is temporary and always has been. Taking control of the uncontrollable and being ready for disruption IS all about rethinking the supply chain.

About the Author

Liza Amlani is a retail industry expert with over 2 decades of experience in merchandising, product creation, and go to market strategy across physical, digital and omni-channel. Liza is currently the Principal at Retail Strategy Group – a consulting practice which helps companies in the retail space dramatically improve profitability.

She is a respected voice on topics such as responsible retail and sustainability, retail diversity and inclusion, the future of retail and the urgency of technology enablement in merchandising, assortment optimization and demand planning.