June 14, 2021 | Supply Chain Software
With fierce competition among companies to capture market share, brands matter more than ever.
A recent study indicated that 97% of consumers are loyal to at least one brand.
The pendulum swings both ways, however.
As customers turned to e-commerce during the pandemic, companies that provided a subpar online experience suffered more. In supermarkets, frequent shortages of household items caused shoppers to buy whatever was available.
Brand loyalty notwithstanding, consumers today expect the products they want to be readily available, whether they’re shopping online or in brick-and-mortar stores.
Companies can maximize their competitiveness by leveraging data to design customer-loyalty programs, but a question for supply chain remains: how do they make sure their products are in the right place at the right time?
With consumer expectations rising, inventory management in supply chain can play a critical role in ensuring customer loyalty. It enables companies to deliver products and fulfill demand consistently, accurately and quickly. For products with similar features and price, availability can be a true differentiator.
Supply chains for retailers are facing challenges from labor and supply shortages, shipping capacity and port congestion. This makes visibility into inventory levels even more important to avoid disruptions and keep service levels high.
Supply chains are complex and continue to grow more so as companies search for the lowest-cost suppliers while also building the resilience to weather disruptions in this post-pandemic world.
The just-in-time model of supply chain management may be out of favor, but holding excess safety stock “just in case” isn’t cost-effective in the long run either.
Rapid fluctuations in consumer demand, in combination with increased customer expectations around product availability and delivery times, create huge pressure for supply chains to accurately sense demand and collaborate with logistics partners to deliver the right product at the right time for the right price.
High customer expectations and the threat of disruptions mean that retailers need to have effective collaboration and execution with their suppliers and partners.
In addition, inventory and warehouse management systems are often misaligned with the rest of the supply chain, creating gaps that lead to inefficiencies.
How do companies successfully navigate these challenges without paying a fortune in inventory and transport fees?
As part of an end-to-end platform, modern supply chain management software seamlessly connects companies to their inventory and warehouse operations, providing real-time, global visibility across different locations to ensure that supply chain teams are aware of where their inventory is, what’s inbound, what’s outbound and what actions need to be taken to avoid potential delays.
But simply knowing where inventory is at any given moment isn’t enough.
Inventory visibility software also needs to link with execution capabilities to be effective. A modern inventory management system does that, integrating with the rest of the supply chain, and with legacy ERP systems, to alert users of potential disruptions and automate replenishment processes.
Companies can share data easily with vendors to enable collaboration on inventory planning processes and maintain optimal inventory levels to reduce the costs of maintaining safety stock and expedited shipping.
By providing greater visibility, deriving deeper insights and enabling tighter collaboration with suppliers and logistics partners, inventory and warehouse management software can have a real impact for customers.
During the pandemic and in its aftermath, companies saw that their customers will be loyal provided their expectations around delivery and availability are met.
A well-orchestrated supply chain, powered by an AI-driven inventory and warehouse management system, can be a very powerful tool for companies to maintain that loyalty and gain competitive advantage.