A healthy supply chain is robust and efficient, it can cope with problem within the chain while also keeping costs down. While most businesses acknowledge the desire for a healthy supply chain many would also admit theirs needs more work.
I was recently struck by the effect of just one key issue on retail supply chains seasonality. Retail is particularly sensitive to the peaks and troughs of seasonal selling be that related to holidays like Christmas and Easter or the changes in seasons themselves.
Getting sock levels right can be a challenge when you consider all the issues that come into play. Too much stock and you will be forced to discount products in order to sell them and too little and you will lose sales and have unhappy customers.
While browsing shop windows post the Easter holidays I was struck by the contrast of those who had miss calculated and had lots of discounted Easter items and those who had sold out and moved on. It was only a few years ago and I could clearly remember shops full of discounted post Easter holiday eggs, but today your lucky to find any.
This is great news for the retailers as they can see they have been getting their stock levels right, but a little disappointing for the chocoholics in need to a cheap fix.
Prediction and Reaction
Ok so retailers seems to be getting better at managing stock when it comes to the big holidays, but there is a larger problem on the horizon The Weather. Here in the UK we have very unpredictable weather our summers aren’t always hot and our winters are not always cold.
The result of this unpredictable weather not only makes it very hard for retailers to get stock levels right but also has created a nation of impulse shoppers into the mix. In the UK you know that sunny weekend at the end of June may well be the only summer you may see so we go crazy buying everything we think we might need to get the most from our one possible moment of summer.
Short of having a crystal ball retail supply chains need to be able to react fast to increase demand due to the weather, while also not over stocking on products that have a limited shelf life.
Experience and Technology
Having just looked at a few issues it’s clear that a healthy supply chain takes regular effort and close assessment. Adjustments are always going to be needed to ensure its effectiveness and it will take an experienced hand to see all the issues involved.
Technology can help with advanced supply chain modelling businesses can see the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches and solutions.
Getting advice and support on how to improve your supply chain from a specialist consultant can be a sound investment and gives you access to a wealth of technology and experience. However, it’s important to ensure the advice you are being given is independent and sound.
A truly independent supply chain consultancy will give you unbiased advice ensuring you get the best solutions for your business. You should also be able to see clear cost and resource benefits to the service your consultant is providing so that rather than being an extra drain on your budget your consultants advice brings in improvements that pay for their services many times over.
Total Logistics is one such supply chain consultancy with a proud track records of independent advice that really does pay for itself for more information visit www.total-logistics.com they also have offices in Netherlands www.total-logistics.nl and work with companies improving supply chains all over the world.