Any successful supply chain that has been around for a few years has adapted to be an efficient process. However, in the changing climate, it is no longer enough to just be efficient, but also to be responsive. Being responsive means to be able to continue to be efficient even in the wake of unexpected events. The quicker a supply chain is able to respond to a sudden change in the normal order, the better the chance of customer satisfaction.
The earlier retail logistics model was based on build-to-forecast, but the trend is shifting. With a demand-driven market on the rise, it is important that supply chains evolve to meet a more dynamic process. Higher responsiveness is a key factor in this evolution. So, how can responsiveness in retail logistics be improved? The change involves a few steps that we will break down further here.
Improving responsiveness in retail logistics
The first thing that needs to be done is to integrate logistics software into the process. With the help of technology, the remaining steps required for improved responsiveness, and, in turn, improved customer service, can be carried out.
Visibility: Retail logistics is not a linear process but a multi-layer one. Complex relationships have arisen between companies and their various vendors, and each member plays an important role. For better responsiveness, a supply chain must have eyes on every aspect from parts suppliers to the delivery services.
Technology can help companies keep track of all suppliers and third-party manufacturers to ensure that not only is the demand for the finished product met but also the demand for parts and raw materials. Any problems with supplies will impact fulfilling orders. Being aware of any setbacks at the earliest allows companies to put measures in place to combat the problem.
So, also, from a delivery point of view, if a transport strike or some other disruption in deliveries occurs, real-time information can increase responsiveness. Alternative delivery methods can be arranged, and customers can be kept in the loop about any delays in receiving their orders. Visibility with the help of technology helps the whole system to be networked and function as one unit to improve responsiveness.
Data analysis: In the new model of retail logistics, vast amounts of data comes in from various sources. A lot of data is still being assembled manually which is time-consuming. As a result, data gets duplicated or outdated and can cause problems with an accurate analysis. Automating and consolidating the data acquiring systems helps to decrease incidents of duplication and speed up processes so that data remains relevant.
Analysis of relevant data helps responsiveness in retail logistics because it can be used to make predictions of upcoming trends, find solutions to customer complaints, be prepared for certain eventualities and so on. With a plan of action in place for events like natural disasters, market depressions, increase in demands for a certain product and the like can vastly improve responsiveness. Automated processes can give real-time updates and speed up the switch from normal to backup plan.
Sales and Operational Planning (S&OP): Treating sales planning and operational planning as two different entities can lead to the downfall of a supply chain. It is only when S&OP is carried out as one process can responsiveness be improved. Tech tools that optimise planning can be used to bridge the gap between the two processes and ensure that they function together. More frequent S&OP, even to the extent of it being done daily, can iron out a lot of discrepancies that could arise when the two are out of sync. S&OP working as a single unit daily is the most effective way to respond quickly to unexpected changes in operations of delivery services.
Responsiveness in retail logistics is all about a better retail experience for customers. Improved responsiveness can help businesses run more smoothly and meet customers’ needs without much delay. Implementing the steps discussed can help reduce downtime, lower costs and improve the bottom line.