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It would be remiss not to delve into the growing fields of data and technology as they relate to the 21st-century supply chain. Technology also ties in boldly to the end of the supply chain, where supermarkets reach their end users – the almighty consumers. Here, a few tech-minded executives share their do’s and don’ts:
From Ed Dupee, VP of demand chain management, Teradata, in Dayton, Ohio:
Do choose a supply chain technology platform that actually gives store business users more control. To be effective today, a supply chain forecasting and replenishment solution needs to give supermarkets complete control over a vast network of paths between stores, distribution centers and vendors – with advanced forecasting, replenishment and allocation capabilities.”
Don’t think that supply chain optimization is limited to inventory issues and not customer personalization. Sophisticated supermarket managers realize that the entire value chain – and marketing channel analytics as well – must be factored in to all supply chain decision-making.”
From Brian Shannon, chief strategy officer at Malvern, Pa.-based Dolphin Corp.:
Do go digital. The retail space is continuously evolving, and innovations in technology are transforming the grocery environment as digitization of customer-facing and back-office processes increases. To process and move inventory quickly and respond to changing consumer preferences, grocery companies require real-time access to all of their information to make swift business decisions. By moving away from paper and going digital, companies can gain greater visibility and respond quickly to shifting consumer preferences and new regulations.
Don’t forget to assess risk. Mitigating risk in the supply chain is essential, and grocers must be able to quickly trace products from producers through the entire distribution chain to individual stores. Responses to these problems must be thoughtful yet timely, with due consideration for all constituents and long-term strategy. Ensure that there’s a strategy in place to retain product data according to policies and regulations – and don’t forget to ensure data can be retrieved quickly when required.