Supply Chain Technology and Integration: An Omnichannel strategy

In the boom of omnichannel and digital momentum that retail is experiencing, supply chain logistics have become one of the best opportunities for brands to garner a competitive advantage in the field. As e-commerce continues to evolve and grow, customers/end-users have taken on the main role. Supply chain logistics now revolve around consumers’ changing consumption habits.

Knowing what the end-user expects in terms of supply chain logistics is essential for a successful omnichannel strategy. A brand, with its knowledge of the field as well as it’s understanding of other logistics players, can utilise their expertise in the fashion industry to sense and form demand patterns. Supply chain technology plays a key role in creating the most optimal experience for all, with both consumer and brand being supported by technological elements in the operation, including end-to-end monitoring, unified documentation and information platforms, notification system and digitized and optimized inventory control.

By integrating technology to play an integral role in the process benefits the entire operation, offering greater efficiency and a healthier ROI.

Integration pictogram

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Supply Chain Logistics: a competitive advantage or disadvantage?

Innovation, technological advancement and staying at the forefront are vital for survival. Take the case of one of the largest retailers in the USA in 1988, who found their success through their revolutionary supply chain "mail order” model. In October 2018, the company sadly had to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy law. What happened in those 30 years? This company led the market for more than 80 years, where they made great decisions and made bets to pioneer solutions that circumvented many technological hurdles. So, what happened? Why were they unable to continue down their successful path?

Boots and jackets selection in retail store

In retail, the key to innovation is the integration of supply chain. By having an integrated supply chain, more efficient and effective routes can be found, allowing companies to concentrate their efforts on delivering the last mile. This gives them the ability to compete against the big e-commerce companies, even in a heavily populated landscape.

Obstacles towards an integrated supply chain

The challenges that retail and lifestyle industries face are:

  • Lack of flexibility to modify speed in supply chain
  • Lack of speed to operate the last mile to facilitate delivery to end-user
  • Lack of visibility throughout the process
  • A sustainable way forwards

The biggest challenge lies in integrating all of these aspects into a single process, which necessitates an investment into technology that is fully oriented towards the supply chain. Processes must be fully digitized in order to quantitatively measure any errors and realise any efficiency trend. In addition, technology allows companies to approach a greater volume of users in a more personalized way and to develop a greater sensitivity to demand.

Integration: flexibility, speed, visibility and sustainability

5 key points to transform your supply chain logistics:

  • Using a single platform to integrate the information
  • Flexibility as a competitive advantage
  • Agility to predict consumer tendencies and adapt your inventory accordingly
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Sustainable integration

These points are solutions to the aforementioned challenges, and are also a positive result that can be obtained to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the level of integration in the supply chain.

As companies work towards introducing more flexibility into the supply chain, it will allow a quicker reaction to changes. The adoption of technological tools will allow for more visibility of the entire supply chain, so patterns can be detected in these changes, creating processes to predict them in the future.

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