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SCM + WMS: Why you need both to compete with endless aisles

February 16, 2017

Preparing for globalization across the retail supply chain

Intense competition is the reality of retail. To compete with endless aisles, combat digital disruption, and meet the needs of increasingly demanding shoppers, retailers need to enable the smooth, accurate, and timely flow of goods to their stores—and their customers.

But managing what goes on inside the warehouse isn’t the only thing retailers need to keep an eye on. They’ve got to know what’s happening long before their products arrive there, and if the Hanjin shipping crisis taught us anything, it’s that they need to keep an eye on them long after they’re gone. But for mid-size retailers (and even big box enterprises), all that data collection and insight can come at an unpalatable cost.

Denial won’t stop the retail revolution

Integrating and configuring disparate systems across every aspect of the supply chain isn’t cheap. Without the proper resources to analyze data and make smart decisions in an instant, it may seem easier for retailers to bury their heads in the sand and just hope everything gets where it’s meant to be going—and many are doing just that. But once they realize it’s time to pay attention to their supply chains, there won’t be enough time left to catch up.

Air freight is already a $70 billion industry. In fact, 72 percent of the world’s cargo is transported via air freight between Europe and Asia. And 1.1 million logistics jobs were created from 2013–2016 in the U.S. alone. To put it simply, globalization is unstoppable, and retailers who don’t invest in supply chain management now will most certainly be left behind.

So where do cost efficiency and modern supply chain orchestration meet?

A warehouse management solution alone is no longer enough. To avoid potential public relations disasters, maintain brand loyalty, keep goods moving in the face of inclement weather, remain stable in a stormy political environment, and ensure that every aspect of the retail operation is performing optimally, retailers (and their customers) need to know what’s happening every step of the way—from sourcing, to SKU, to the sales floor.

To achieve that kind of visibility, retailers need holistic, scalable software solutions that efficiently execute core distribution processes, while simultaneously maintaining real-time inventory at the discrete location level. Thanks to the power of data science, the supercomputing capabilities of the cloud, and the latest innovations in artificial intelligence, comprehensive supply chain execution is now a reality—and the TCO is lower than ever before, especially when you consider the long-term investment of modernization.

The technology is out there, and leading retailers like Amazon have already mastered the supply chain game. Now it’s up to other retailers to do the same—before it’s too late. As Fortune’s David Z. Morris put it, “Big data could improve supply chain efficiency—if companies would let it.”

Learn more about Infor Retail’s next generation supply chain management solutions.

Supply chain management software
  • Fashion
  • Retail
  • Worldwide
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