Keep Partners In the Loop

Q: How can value chain partners cooperate to create and share efficiencies?

Caudill: Efficiencies can be gained by increasing the fidelity, transparency, and velocity of data that value chain partners share about inventories, shipments, capacities, and sales. Everyone wins when you get all partners on the same page and today there is no reason this information cannot be posted, aggregated, and shared instantly across all key players.

Q: How can retailers best match demand to supply and enhance enterprise scalability?

Caudill: Inventory accuracy has long been a challenge in retail; the average retail inventory accuracy rate has been only 60-70 percent. Such inaccuracy leads to increased and unnecessary supply chain inventory, or worse, too little inventory resulting in out-of-stocks, lost sales, and a poor customer experience. The current competitive retail environment has retailers looking to gain every advantage possible to win and retain customers. The ability to have product in stock is critical, especially if it is promoted or trend-driven. A new generation of solutions based on RFID technologies can efficiently increase this accuracy to 95 percent or more, while providing greater visibility and control.

As a result, retailers experience reductions in supply chain network inventory, out-of-stocks, and shrink while increasing sales and associate productivity.

Q: What innovative sustainability initiatives also increase efficiencies?

Caudill: Demonstrating leadership in important social awareness areas such as sustainability is a powerful motivator for employees because it increases productivity, builds loyalty, and inspires them to find innovative ways to bring products and services to market.

Many companies and employees are more energy conscious today than ever before. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions often goes hand-in-hand with reducing energy consumption, and businesses are likely to realize substantial cost savings through sustainability initiatives including heating and lighting upgrades that result in lower utility bills, switching to more efficient fuel/energy sources, and creating staff awareness programs that reduce consumption of electricity and other resources, such as paper products.

These programs often result in energy expense savings, enabling organizations to reinvest those dollars as operating capital and contribute directly to the bottom line.

Q: Why do companies have such a hard time embracing global trade management?

Caudill: Although critical to a company’s strategy, global supply chain processes remain hugely inefficient. Many companies find the complexity associated with developing a global trade management strategy beyond their capabilities as they lack the internal expertise, face fierce internal competition for scarce resources, or are too invested in legacy technologies to execute. Those that succeed at developing a strategy often find themselves looking outside their firm to transform their operations.

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