The band R.E.M. crafted many a catchy tune. One that always sticks in my head is “It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine).” While I cannot today remember every line of that fast-paced song, it always made me think of big changes coming in the world around me. While most folks do not connect REM and retail in the same thought process, I think that the song actually does apply for practitioners in retail supply chains. Why? Well, to read most supply chain articles that touch on retail these days, one would be led to believe that it’s “the end of the retail world” as we know it – an unavoidable black hole that is going to suck in brick and mortar stores and replace nearly all consumer transactions by e-commerce. While I freely admit that a viable omni-channel strategy is certainly a key piece of the puzzle for many a retailer, the REM “I Feel Fine” phrase resonates since brick and mortar is here to stay for a wide swatch of retail sectors for decades to come. This means that supply chain best practices will also lift up many a retailer long into the future.
Even as Hollywood continually bombards us with apocalypse movies, we can embrace the fact that many retail futures are bright. With many retail concepts adding stores in new and established markets (including most cities in my home state of Texas), thoughtful and analytical consideration of your supply chain network will directly contribute towards store level EBITDA and positive WPSA comps. Grounded, programmatic transportation management programs will continually drive lower delivered costs per case, high in-store availability rates, and manageable inventory levels.
Signs are pointing favorably for retailers heading into the holiday season and 2015. We highlighted key trends and opportunity areas to consider when it comes to supply chain and transportation optimization in the infographic below (Link to PDF of Infographic).
Brent Hudspeth serves as Vice President, Business Development and Consulting at Transplace. Based in Dallas, his five years of experience at Transplace come on top of executive roles in supply chain consulting, technology and manufacturing businesses.