When someone thinks of Supply Chain Management, big industries and B2B models come to mind. It sounds like something sophisticated, which involves a large setup of people and a group of staff at every level, working in harmony to make a large chain like this work. But what most people don’t know, supply chains are equally important and significant for retailers too!
Retail business in the modern era has evolved so much, and to keep up, supply chain management practices have been an essential part of keeping businesses afloat and thriving. Online retail is more prominent than ever. The way that online retail stores or e-commerce works are through a well-oiled, well-functioning supply chain only. Whether it is sourcing wholesale items or tracking deliveries to customers, supply chain management is an essential aspect of being a retailer.
Let’s look at some critical supply chain management practices for the retail business in the modern era.
1. Cloud-Based Tracking and Management Software
The modern customer demands precision, speed, and quality. The quality part is for the retailer to figure out by sourcing only the best wholesalers in their business, but it is still very much in their hands when it comes to speed and precision of delivery. A ubiquitous feature of a properly managed supply chain is using cloud-based tracking and management software. Such software will help a retailer keep track of the products out for delivery so that they can be up to date about the status. Consumers these days expect to have all their queries answered whenever they want, and once a product has been shipped, it’s mostly out of the retailer’s hands.
With cloud-based tracking software, a retailer can keep track of shipments and have answers when required. This software will also help a retailer keep track of incoming shipments from wholesalers.
2. Making use of RFID Tags
Inventory Management is something that can be a headache for retailers who are scaling up their business slowly. Keeping track of what products need to be reordered and stocked can be done quickly using RFID tags. A source tagging solution can help you keep track of inventory and products from the source, i.e. the manufacturer. This way, retailers can closely monitor stock situations in warehouses. Whenever an item is nearly out of stock, they will be alerted of it and can restock on time. This practice will help retailers stay ahead of calamity and always have an inventory of in-demand items.
3. Practicing Strategic Sourcing
This practice involves retailers weighing in all their options carefully before settling with a wholesaler or manufacturer. This means collaborating with suppliers that are closer to you, give you better prices, and can fulfill orders without any hiccups in the process. You should also go for suppliers who can help you with decision-making. This is where the true collaborative effort lies. Suppliers have a better idea of what sells for retailers selling similar products in the same areas. It is essential to take their advice into consideration and make them feel like partners. This leads to longer-lasting relationships with your suppliers.
4. Collaborative Effort between Marketing and Supply Chain Professionals
For a business, marketing is a significant aspect. These days, marketing professionals are at the top of their games with so many tools available. A multi-fronted promotion should be done with keeping the supply chain staff in the loop so that the inventory doesn’t fall short of the product in case of successful marketing efforts. For other reasons, all departments of a business should work hand in hand with supply chain management.
5. Regular Audits and Reviewing the Supply Chain
Supply chain management isn’t something you can set up a template for, and you’re good to go forever. It is a complex group of processes that must be carefully looked at and reviewed every now and again. The trends also keep changing and upgrading. If you want your business to keep doing well, stay up-to-date with the latest trends or else your competitors will catch on and leave you behind! There are always things in the supply chain which you can tweak to make your business better. Regularly auditing your supply chain to find these betterment opportunities is something that every business needs to do.