Today’s top supply chain leaders define the retail supply chain beyond just trucks and distribution centers. Supply chain leaders focus on the end-to-end enterprise of the value chain within their companies. During a breakout session, Gartner Inc. Research Directors Kevin Sterneckert and Janet Suleski discussed the best practices and initiatives that put companies on Gartner’s “Supply Chain Top 25″ list.
According to Sterneckert and Suleski, retailers are faced with many challenges today. These include an increasingly empowered and well-connected consumer, continued economic uncertainty impacting consumers’ buying decisions, increased pressure from pure-play retailers, and continuously evolving supply chains focused on exploring different ways to get products to consumers.
Today’s supply chain leaders must be demand-driven and combine demand, supply and product to support one another instead of focusing on them as separate initiatives. The “Demand-Driven Retail” (DDR) strategy for the Supply Chain Top 25 includes a focus on the following:
- Understanding and responding to demand signals
- Delivering a consumer-centric supply chain
- Fulfilling cross-channel demand
- Building value networks
- Using the supply chain to support products and services innovation
Retailers wanting to become global leaders need to conduct a demand-driven supply chain action plan. Companies should first take the DDR self-assessment to gauge their current maturity levels. Within 90 days, companies should determine the role of their supply chain and how it should enable their business strategy. They should also create and administer a supply chain skill set assessment. Finally, within the next 12 months, companies need to compare their DDR initiatives to the recommended list and create a DDR process and technology road map.