Ask Mary: Joe Andraski's thoughts on today's retail climate

    This week we have great insights on this year in retail brought to you by Joe Andraski, President and CEO of VICS (Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions) Association. Enjoy!  ~Ask Mary

    joe andraski ask mary dicentral

    The future for the retail industry is dependent upon the global economy and how rapidly unemployment is defeated. As with most situations, there are those conditions that are out of our control; however, this presents an opportunity to pursue organizational and process changes that have been ignored while sales were increasing due to the sheer momentum of the times and buyers’ euphoria.

    There are significant opportunities to reduce cost of goods sold and to improve speed to market and visibility, without substantial investments in technology. Realizing that no company is an island, with rare exception, retailers and manufacturers have to collaborate up and down the supply chain with their trading partners. One-off solutions that may appear to be the answer for a single company may in fact be the bane for many others. We always forget that the cost of doing business, regardless of where it’s occurring, will find its way to the price of the product on the shelf and will be absorbed by the consumer.

    Senior management, with good cause, finds their time being absorbed by many challenges. Consequently, junior level managers, who may not be aware of standards that have served the industry well for many years, make decisions on business practices that veer away from industry standards. Imagine if all 280,000 retailers in the USA established unique vendor requirements, what a mess the retail supply chain would become. Even a small percentage of retailers going their own way on vendor requirements have caused havoc.

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    In conclusion, the industry should take this time to reset, to determine what is right for the whole and, in doing so, can immediately reap the benefits. Costs will be favorably impacted, visibility will be improved (just use EDI effectively) and the consumer will be pleased, all for the price of education. But education won’t become a priority until the corner office realizes what has been largely ignored and makes it a part of their key strategies, along with sustainability.

        Joseph C. Andraski

        President and CEO, VICS