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The next big retail challenge


9


Information has become the new battleground. Big data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in omnichannel retailers’ plans to acquire a 360-degree view of their customers.


way? Can they keep pace with this rapid rate of change? As alluded to already, the supply chain is at the heart


of this retail revolution – it is the enabler that effects efficient distribution and allows for an agile response to customer demand, in whatever form it takes and through whichever channel it is required. Creating, adapting and evolving a supply chain capable of providing competitive advantage in such a fast moving field should be a continuous process, where strategic elements of network planning and design are considered alongside an on- going operational programme of process improvement. Continually searching for ‘better’ at lower cost brings results. But it’s creative thinking that adds the all-important


extra dimension. Finding ways of extending the cut-off for next-day deliveries or removing the need to place returned items back on the shelves only to be picked again soon afterwards are just two examples of where imagination and experience can deliver significant benefits. Having the right strategy, market knowledge and


experience is key. Bis Henderson Consulting has recently been working closely with one of the world’s largest toy retailers to help the business understand its future growth expectations and what that looks like in terms of warehousing facilities across Europe. Through using leading-edge scenario planning tools, a network design fit for the future was created, ensuring service flexibility and agility while optimising the total cost of supply


across the network. Within the warehouse, Bis Henderson Consulting


has helped a large number of retailers maximise the throughput of a facility, removing the immediate need for the business to take on additional warehousing space, all achieved through the application of more efficient picking methodologies, in-depth process analysis and the intelligent redeployment of resources across the operation. Understanding the dynamics of omnichannel fulfilment and store replenishment activities has enabled higher performance across channels and facilitated the stretching of cut-off times for next-day delivery – boosting the retailers’ competitive position. Labour availability issues and rising cost pressures


relating to the National Living Wage and the upcoming Apprenticeship Levy have also impacted retailers’ distribution centre operations. In the last year there has been a significant rise in the number of businesses looking to mechanise or automate elements of their fulfilment operation and Bis Henderson Consulting have been active in helping organisations make the right choices. Retail is in the midst of unparalleled structural change


and the supply chain is at the very heart of it. The winners in this dynamic new landscape will be those businesses that can harness the potential of the supply chain to deliver competitive advantage. For omnichannel retailers the next big challenge is the supply chain.


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