Our recent survey found that 93 percent of retail and supply chain professionals work with at least one new supplier each year. In companies with numerous departments, they could be working with up to 500 new vendors every year. How retailers managed before digital technology is a wonder – but major brands are still relying on those manual processes to be successful. Despite the abundance of tools available, the majority (63 percent) of survey respondents are still using applications like Outlook and Excel to manage complex sourcing relationships. If only retailers knew that digital sourcing can enable a number of benefits to save time and money as it:
- Speeds the product development cycle by enabling collaboration with suppliers digitally early in the process
- Streamlines product sourcing, negotiation and vendor selection separate from order creation processes
- Sources and track key materials and components to allow decisions to be made closer to production time
- Finalizes order quantities and include domestic or international projections
- Validates factory capacity before order commitment to verify compliance and mitigate risk
- Allows for progressive planning that makes pre-orders visible to suppliers and internal stakeholders, delivering final details at the perfect time
- Captures sales orders to ensure supply meets demand by tracking sales and production commitments on one platform
- Aligns supply to market, allowing order updates as market demand shifts to optimize margins in real time
- Fulfills market demand with quality products to any destination, while tracking actual landed costs, profitability and supplier performance
The key benefit to using digital supply chain strategies is that retailers will receive information instantly and increase visibility into the product development processes from start to finish. When efforts are focused on the collaborative process of product development, retailers can more easily leverage their advanced supply chain networks to collaborate and create a truly innovative product. The benefits of digital supply chain technology work both up and downstream, as internal teams can immediately alert suppliers of an increase in production when hot ticket items sell out, or instantly send more product to warehouses to avoid low inventory.
Retailers who leverage digital sourcing technology can view all suppliers and product options in one place, for more efficient comparison of product accuracy, quality and price. Should team members need to make any overseas trips, teams can rest assured that they have a platform for communication anytime and anywhere. Instead of spending time tracking down emails or getting other team members up to speed, product development teams can focus on sharing inspiration and swapping ideas for innovative products your customers are sure to love. Digital tools allow retailers to communicate quickly and easily, internally and externally, helping them discover, develop and deliver great products at consumer speed to diverse markets around the world.
See what else retail and sourcing professionals thought about digital sourcing in our latest eBook, “Digital Sourcing in the New Retail Economy.”