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Living Retail is a state of constant flux, and retailers must plan for every possible future they might encounter — not just the static vision of the future they’re predicting today.
We interviewed a few CIOs to see what they thought were the corner stones of new system implementations and wrote down the recurring themes concerning retail planning.
Traditional retailers can recapture sales from digital players who have significantly lower service levels by ensuring great availability in stores.
Markdowns cost retailers billions, yet they are essential in the world of retail. To make most of it, retailers need to maximize margin and avoid excess stock.
Running a grocery business has changed fundamentally: The days of working on intuition have passed, and the days of data analytics and frictionless retail are here.
With AI hype going on, many forget that AI doesn’t matter, but the results do. We now use pragmatic AI when describing how we use data for better decisions.
RELEX was used to simulate the dynamic safety stock levels and their effects on inventory and service levels in MIT research.
Years ago, a store may have stocked between 7,000 and 8,000 over-the-counter SKUs. Today, retailers have to account for and optimize anywhere between 15,000 and 20,000 SKUs.
Retailers are no longer interested in major system replacements. Instead, there’s a trend toward implementing in parts rather than as a whole.
Many assume that a focus on quality leads to a higher level of waste. It doesn’t. In fact, waste and quality problems often share the same root cause.
In grocery retail, the reality is that the change and the challenges aren’t going to stop anytime soon. If anything, the competition will just get tougher.
The NRF Retail’s Big Show in New York is among the most important retail industry events of the year. Among the trendier topics this year was the rise of AI.
Does corporate responsibility end with the spreadsheet, or do grocers have a second set of responsibilities – to the customers and the earth providing the goods?
16 % of large US grocery retailers still base their distribution center forecasts on historical data on outbound deliveries from these distribution centers. This is akin to driving a car while looking into the rearview mirror.
Halloween has become a major opportunity for retailers to grow their business. In the US alone, the total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $9 billion this year.
Choosing a supply chain planning system isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve listed some things to consider if you’re going to transform your supply chain planning.
Earlier in September, representatives from 15 of the biggest grocery retailers across Europe, gathered at RELEX’s Grocery Forum to discuss the future of unified retail planning.
The biggest difference in automating replenishment of fresh products in comparison to center-store products is the increased importance of planning accuracy.
Accurate forecasting is at the core of increased operational efficiency as it is key to accurately match resources, such as stock and personnel, with demand.
We surveyed leading North American grocers and compiled the key results in a study titled ‘Growing and Sustaining Competitive Advantage in Grocery Retail’.
A supply chain is always a work in progress. You can optimize it so it’s running as close to perfect as possible and then circumstances change.
While category insight data is widely used to aid the production of more customer-focused assortments, many retailers fail to leverage the knowledge of those closest to the customer – the local store staff.
The efficiency of a business’s store replenishment operation has a major impact on profitability. Yet, it’s often overshadowed by higher profile activities such as buying, merchandising and marketing.
During my almost seven years working with space planning, I’ve faced almost every question there is to ask around the topic. One, however, seems to come up constantly “Can we use forecast data when making the planograms?”
Predicting weather is not easy and rapid changes in weather can cause consumers to suddenly shop or cease to shop for specific products, which can quickly become costly for a retailer.
The wide State of the Retail Supply Chain study conducted in 2017 by Martec International indicates that, in many areas, UK and Irish retailers are ahead of their European counterparts.
Many of the same trends we’ve seen in 2017 will continue in 2018 alongside new challenges and opportunities. We’ve listed the five most interesting trends that grocery retailers can expect in 2018.
“What would you consider a good level of forecast accuracy in our business?” is probably the single most frequent question we get from customers, consultants and other business experts alike.
The recently released Grocery Tech Trends Study reveals the top priorities for grocers embracing digital transformation.
As a retailer, you’re under tremendous pressure from all sides. The good old days of simply stacking the shelves and watching it sell are long gone and the competition is fiercer than ever.
Earlier this year the State of the Retail Supply Chain -report was released. Here are the top discoveries we made about the food and drug retailers.
The biggest opportunity for increased operational efficiency in retail lies in building a unified planning process spanning retail’s core functions.
When I first began working in a retail superstore as a teenager, corporate announced an initiative and new process for managing stock.
This increasingly complex supply chain means that retailers today can no longer rely on traditional pricing strategies in order to differentiate.
Driving efficiency and increasing revenue in this ever-changing environment means a constant pull in multiple directions. So how can the CFO create change, improve the operating ratios and minimize risks for the business?
The industry has been talking about RFID for 20 years, but it still hasn’t come into common use or delivered significant value to retailers.
Retailers should know that no two stores in a retail chain are the same when planning promotions. Yet major retailers are treating them exactly the same for all their stores.
I tend to divide technology companies into two groups. Those who’ve come up with a shiny new whizzy thing and those whose starting point is a real problem.
With any new market a retailer has to understand how the supply chain will evolve and differ from their usual operation.
Making good assortment decisions in retail is all about getting things right consistently. That requires good planning and that in turn requires good data.
I want to take you into deep space. That’s where brick-and-mortar retailers are headed if they want to survive and thrive in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
In today’s customer-centric supply chain, retail is detail, and having an effective supply chain has always been key to retail success.
Why has store-specific planogram solutions been focusing on optimizing the whole planogram when the most important 20% gives us 80% of the benefit?
Rapid-fire planogramming doesn’t have to be difficult – once you establish a rhythm for the operation it becomes second nature.
I think we’d all agree, not everyone’s supply chain challenges are the same, but in retail they almost always have elements in common.
One of the top supply chain management slogans has been “replace inventory with information”, however, there are valid reasons for holding inventory.
Let me give you a couple of supply chain buzzwords for 2017; ‘Amazon’ and ‘Customer-Centricity’. Neither should be a huge surprise.
There are two major outcomes when it comes to stocking up for a season. Although you might have solved these, the root of the problem can still be apparent.
Apparel brands that have mastered on-time execution are formidable competitors. They execute like clockwork, year after year.
Omni-channel, cross-channel, or all-channel retailing–whatever you may call it, retailers of all sizes are struggling to get it right.
Change and uncertainty drive the need for agility. As consumers’ buying behaviour has changed in the past 20 years, retailers have scrambled to respond fast enough.
Big data isn’t only about the amount of information involved; it’s also about the ability to process and analyze it from multiple angles.
The need to compete in the new age is driving retailers to look at their supply chain operations. We’ve listed four retail supply chain trends that are already clearly visible.
In almost every supply chain project we’ve been involved in it has been necessary to improve master data. It’s almost a cliché these days but any system is only as good as the data you put into it.
Our values have been presented outside the company once, at our 10th anniversary party in January this year. But, I thought, why not write them up?
Having an omni-channel inventory management system that gives an accurate picture of your supply chain, is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ It’s a basic.
There are few challenges in retail tougher than managing groceries; optimizing a broad inventory that includes fresh and short-shelf-life products is not easy.
The biggest single supply chain theme in the news these last months has been transparency.
Working in the field of inventory management and supply chain I guess one gets to be more appreciative, as a customer, when companies get things right and perhaps more disappointed when they don’t.
The pace of change in retail is accelerating fast. Every consultant is preaching omni-channel. Never has it been more essential to have the right technology to be able to manage this additional complexity.
In February 2016, France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food.
Over the years almost every single retail initiative has had forecasting and replenishment at its core.
Easter is great, but for retail planners in particular Easter is also one of the most annoying annual events as its date moves every year.
Though German business has earned an enviable reputation for efficiency, a new study shows that their supply chains often don’t run entirely smoothly.
In an earlier post I reflected on how far RELEX has come as a company. It made me realize that our values are much the same now as they’ve always been.
So! With our tenth anniversary celebrations having come and gone it feels like a good moment to look back over the journey so far.
Optimizing your replenishment isn’t just about keeping the right items in stock. It’s also about perfecting your buying.
If there’s one nation in Europe with whom the British are given to comparing themselves it’s the Germans.
Once you understand how much will be sold on each day, the next step is to guarantee that the demand can be fulfilled, and in case of any problems, what actions are needed to ensure smooth operations.
NRF’s Retail’s Big Show is perhaps the biggest convention and EXPO for retailers in the US calendar.
An Integrated Supply Chain needs the right preparation and planning to work efficiently.
Sometime it can seem as though your suppliers are going out of their way to making buying their stuff unnecessarily difficult.
By analyzing the lessons and making informed tweaks to your processes, it’s possible to make a significant difference next year and every year to come.
The challenges of Christmas vary from sector to sector. Here’s the big secret: think of Christmas as a process, not an event.
Finally let’s look at how to manage the end of the season successfully. It’s easy, right?
The basic idea of bullwhip effect is that most supply chains have internal dynamics that enforce demand volatility.
Managing seasons is important for almost every retailer. In some sectors, such as fashion, it’s absolutely vital to a company’s profitability.
A retailer’s entire supply chain needs to be able to plan and execute to the highest of standards on Black Friday.
Getting pre-season allocation to your stores wrong can lead to lost sales or the likelihood of huge markdowns.
For many fashion retailers much of the work towards ensuring a successful season will have been done months before the collections go on the racks.
In this blog series we would like to share some season management ideas to help you make the optimal planning and allocation decisions.
Big data isn’t only about the amounts of information involved but also about the ability to process and analyse it from multiple angles.
The more delivery options you offer the more complex the supply chain becomes, and that complexity also has implications for the planning side of things.
With the rise of e-commerce many traditional retailers have established an online channel to complement their core businesses.
As almost every etailer and retailer with an online operations knows all too well, product returns are a costly headache that simply have to be taken care of.
Bringing product view or customer behaviour data from website into your supply chain planning and analytics tool can be very useful.
Traditional inventory management limits as to what you can sell, and what you can’t, no longer apply in e-commerce.
I’m often asked how online retail affects supply chain planning. Although the basic rules are the same, there are indeed a number of differences.
Why thinking about how to make your supply chain planning worse can help you make it much, much better.
Coping with changes in the rate of sale is a must in the current retail environment.
People are fickle, not wholly rational and make different decisions at different times. However, people are predictable in most of their buying decisions.
Often planning teams can cruise comfortably during normal times, but when adding seasonal demands, they must start pedalling heavily.
Everyone looks forward to summer, sunny weather and happy times. Except the poor supply chain professionals, having to cope with massive swings in sales.
How does one create meaningful forecasts for new products when there is no sales history at all?
Demand forecasting for promotions is a major challenge for retailers, not least because of the impact it has on driving sales.
Forecasting future demand successfully is difficult. Find out from our blog what the big retailers listed as their hardest challenges.
In-memory computing and SaaS models will shake up the supply chain planning software market. It is a view shared by leading technology analysts such as Gartner.
One of the most established assumptions in inventory management is that stock holding needs to rise steeply as you increase availability.
Most valuable things in life need effort. This seems to be as true of supply chain development initiatives as of any other area of life.
Manual forecasting generally produces results whose accuracy is, rather questionable. However it can be of benefit in certain situations.
Quite often forecasting is based on the views of analysts or salespeople. However in general, human beings are not good at forecasting.
Inventory management has been framed in terms of finding the right trade-off between customer service (shelf availability) and cost (inventory value).
We see that there is a potential for waste reduction comparable with the food consumption of the whole of Canada!
One weekend I was driving with my 9-year old son when he all of a sudden started to ask me about how we actually do business at RELEX.
What you measure is what you get, at least that’s how it should be. When implementing supply chain solutions we are aiming for multiple goal optimisation.
Three tips to achieve the best KPI-measured results through exception-based working.
The most common remark I hear about supply chain development is: “Other sectors are much easier. Our supply chain is especially difficult.”
Just when you think things are under control comes another marketing period and many great ways of messing up wonderful forecast and in stock position.
The top post-season supply chain management tips to better manage future seasons and forecast demand more accurately.
In practice zero spoilage is rarely the best goal on perishables inventory management.
It is difficult to achieve the best results when the recession eases if you are not using state of the art Supply Chain Optimisation technology.
I hate Mondays. Not because you have to get up and go to work, but because when you get to work it is the dreaded monday morning trading meeting.
Many retail and wholesale businesses experience pressures with their warehouse space, at least before peaks. Manage your space scarcity effectively.
What is the biggest cost in your business? It may seem obvious but this message is as true today as it was all those years ago.
A demand forecast always contains errors, but the errors diminish with an increasing aggregation level, and when forecasting less far into the future.
Halloween could be a major opportunity for retailers to build their business. In the USA it is now the second largest retail event after Christmas.
Demand forecasting has been discussed quite a lot in supply chain management. There are some indisputable facts of forecasting. Find out what they are.
Does your company do ‘demand forecasting’ or ‘demand planning’? Both are needed in supply chain management, but what are their differences?
To us supply chain professionals the importance of supply chain management is a given. However the potentially huge impact of supply chain in the profit potential of a company is not clear to everyone.