As retailers' supply chains remain under pressure, the best of the best are focused on knowing where their product is at every stage of the game and improving visibility for the long term, according to a report from researcher Retail Systems Research (RSR) and supply chain technology firm Symphony Retail AI, published March 26.
The firms' "The Retail Supply Chain: Designing New Ways to Satisfy Demand" found that two-thirds of what they call "retail winners" identify real-time supply chain visibility as a strategic focus area, compared to 54% of average or underperformers who do so.
"What we find most interesting from this research is that retail winners are focused on new methods for achieving better visibility and better supply chain execution," Patrick Buellet, chief strategy officer, Symphony RetailAI, said in a statement announcing the report's findings.
The research found that while inventory management is a challenge for all retailers, retail winners—those the companies deem top performers—are better focused on developing strategies to improve inventory management. For instance, "winners" fear that they have too much inventory, while poorer performers tend to believe they don't have enough, the research found; 33% of retail winners say their inventory management issues are characterized by too much inventory in DCs, compared to 21% of others, while more under-performers (36%) cite too many in-store out of stocks as a challenge, compared with 29% of retail winners. The researchers suggest that "it's likely retail winners have made more and better investments in forecast engines than their poorer performing peers, but the research points to inventory visibility and forecasting as opportunities for all retailers in the current landscape."
The research also found that retail winners are focused on growth challenge and competitive pressures and have broader strategic concerns than their peers. The groups' complimentary research is available on RSR's website (registration required).