Monster masks, superhero costumes, and giant candy bags across the aisle from turkeys, Santa hats and candy canes. Right now, this is a common scene in many stores, which often elicits the comment from shoppers, “It starts earlier every year.” But as someone who works in supply chain management, I just smile to myself when I hear these statements, because they have no idea how early it really starts. For anyone working in retail, as you know, planning for the holidays started several months ago - from analyzing customer purchasing behavior to making projections for the hottest products, increasing production on popular items, and incorporating redundancies into transportation networks to ensure on time delivery.Read More
Running an efficient supply chain in a market driven by ecommerce and higher customer expectations requires sharing information in real time to speed up transactions, making accurate business decisions, and improving planning to ensure customers have access to the products they want, when they want them. But seamless collaboration between suppliers and retailers is challenging, resulting in higher costs and issues in meeting customer demands.Read More
Suppliers: you want the capability to take on larger orders and more buyers. But how do you scale your business while juggling the tasks of keeping products in stock, and complying with your customers variable business rules? Every year, buyer’s rules become more demanding and the penalties become more severe.Read More
The goal of any business owner is to grow: grow their client base, their operations, and, subsequently, their profit margins. Leaders of the world’s most successful companies seek both insight into their organization’s supply chain operations and foresight into future trends in EDI and B2B Integration. Before you can improve your supply chain processes, you need a clear picture of how well you’re collaborating with other members of your supply chain.Read More
In previous blog posts, we have addressed the evolution of EDI and its 50-year history. (EDI Enters its 4th Age: the Managed Services Age Part 1 and EDI Enters its 4th Age: the Managed Services Age Part 2).
EDI (electronic data interchange) and B2Bi (business to business Integration) are complex data collaboration standards that move information between thousands of channels, generating millions of data points that require consistent, proactive monitoring, and maintenance.Read More
With thirty plus years of EDI now behind us, there is both good and bad news on the state of EDI programs within most corporations.
The following article, written by Jim Tompkins and featured on his blog Gaining a Supply Chain Edge, gives a great discussion on the critical changes occurring in industrial distribution, and how distributors can best prepare for these changes. Read on:
Big things are happening in today’s industrial distribution landscape and they are causing an uproar in the industry as they occur simultaneously. The five big changes happening now are:
Experience. This means everything from real-time product availability and enhanced search, to improved product descriptions and streamlined checkout. Experience also includes mobile, order history, personalization, workflow management system and free shipping and returns.
Convenience. Today’s speed of delivery is “getting local.” This is evolving rapidly as industrial distribution consolidation continues to pick up pace, and it is also fueled by eager sellers and buyers. Multipliers are high and financial and strategic buyers have the available funds to invest. As a result, this consolidation is in more physical locations closer to their customers, and therefore available for delivery.
Selection. Today’s customers demand a selection that has broader variety and depth of product offerings. This can be done through mergers and acquisitions. By buying distributors who offer different products and then integrating these distributorships, you are able to offer a larger selection of products to your customers and the acquired firm’s customer. Many customers want to buy from fewer distributors, so M&A not only offers customers a wider selection, but also results in increased revenues.
Another way to increase selection is by acting as a marketplace. You can do this by offering products for which you do not stock inventory, but rather pass the order onto your marketplace partner who drop-ships the product to your marketplace customers. This stockless production can allow you to offer an “endless aisle” of product offerings without increasing inventory.
Price. This is always an important factor. Again, this is a potential benefit of M&A. By broadening your selection, you are able to sell more products to each customer. By having larger orders, you can create more efficient operations and reduce final delivery costs. This results in lower prices passed on to your customers.
Another price reduction avenue is to cut out your supplier and go directly to the source and offer your clients private label. This can often bring increased margins and brand loyalty.
Competition. Finally, you have to work in a competitive environment to change the landscape of the industry. Since other distributors are addressing these changes, you need to as well.
-Daniel Ford, DiCentral
New England Supply Chain Conference and Exhibition (NESCON) will take place on Monday, October 1st in Marlborough, Massachusetts, at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center. DiCentral will be sponsoring the event, as well as exhibiting. To learn more about NESCON, or to sign up to become an attendee, click here.