RSR Research Findings: Globalization, Localization, and Cross-Channel Top Retailers' Supply Chain Challenges

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"Retail Supply Chain 2012: Globalization, Localization, and Cross-Channel" contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding the retail supply chain.

Retail supply chain's history of evolutionary-style changes is running headlong into retail's transformation under the pressures of a global economy and cross-channel consumers.

Retail Systems Research, LLC has released its findings from its 2012 Benchmark Report, "Retail Supply Chain 2012: Globalization, Localization, and Cross-Channel". The report, based on a survey of 96 retailers on their supply chain challenges, opportunities, and technology adoption plans, found that retailers continue to struggle with consumer price sensitivity and unpredictable demand swings, while at the same time working to identify new market opportunities and the supply chain strategies that will best support those opportunities. The research is available for free download (registration required).

"Retail supply chain's history of evolutionary-style changes is running headlong into retail's transformation under the pressures of a global economy and cross-channel consumers," report Nikki Baird and Brian Kilcourse, RSR Managing Partners and the report's authors. "Between the three inter-related challenges of globalization, localized assortment, and cross-channel, retailers continue to grapple with supply chain basics while at the same time they must rapidly enable much more sophisticated supply chain capabilities than they have had to in the past."

Key Findings include:

  • For all of the investments that retailers have made in their supply chains over the last three years, a majority of survey respondents reported that they have not seen any improvements in supply chain lead times. However, Retail Winners have made a strategic decision to give up certain supply chain improvements in return for more flexibility around managing inventory.
  • While a majority of retail survey respondents report that they have one central pool of inventory for managing cross-channel needs, very few report actually taking advantage of that central pool to provide for flexible fulfillment options, which suggests a certain amount of optimism and aspiration around what constitutes a "single pool of inventory".
  • A clear majority of survey respondents are either in the process of evaluating their supply network, just completed an evaluation, or are just about to start one - a recognition that the supply chain model of ten years ago is now inadequate to meet business needs.

"Retail Supply Chain 2012: Globalization, Localization, and Cross-Channel" contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding the retail supply chain. It also offers up baseline recommendations for successful supply chain strategies. The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, is sponsored by Manhattan Associates, and can be downloaded here: http://www.rsrresearch.com/2012/03/07/retail-supply-chain-2012-globalization-localization-and-cross-channel

About RSR Research: Retail Systems Research (“RSR”) is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the extended retail industry, and thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large. RSR’s services include benchmark reports covering the state of retailer technology adoption for topics ranging from merchandising and supply chain, store operations and workforce management, to customer-facing and multi-channel technologies. Custom research reports provide more in-depth views into topics of industry interest, and advisory services help retailers and technology vendors make the most of the insights RSR provides. To learn more about RSR, visit http://www.rsrresearch.com.

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Linda Wolfe
Retail Systems Research
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