Shifting pattern of supply chain
The world of trade and commerce is experiencing an unprecedented level of change, with an exponential rise in the demands of customers. New businesses are popping up at every turn, introducing new technologies and faster schemes to reach out to consumers, captivate them, and increase chances of brand loyalty. This means that every business is involved in cutthroat competition in a dynamic environment, technically leaving no breathing space for retailers. Following the motto ‘customer is the king’, retail businesses have to adapt rapidly while maintaining cost-effective practices.
With the advent of eCommerce, it is no surprise that businesses that offer online shopping along with offline stores thrive best. Consumers are now shifting towards multi- or Omni-channel shopping experience. Most of them prefer a combination of online-offline buying and delivery options that combines the best of both worlds. This means the provision of returns and pick-up have to be kept as well. With so many considerations at stake, the survival of small businesses may look very slim. Then how to emerge victorious with substantial profit margins, customer satisfaction, and zero trade-offs?
For starters, supply chain management efficiency is a must. Business owners need to have complete transparency at every level to assess strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, technological advancements of the current era can make it simple. With the country’s current vision of ‘Digital India’ in progress, the obvious step for retailers would be digital warehousing. This allows for efficient supply chain management with no opaqueness, which implies greater virtual bird’s eye view of a product lifecycle to managers and owners. Not only does digitalization of inventory helps in better stock management, but it also puts away the need for those hefty ledgers and logbooks, enabling faster analysis and detection of grey areas with the scope of improvement and reduces the cost of manual log maintenance. Automation and RFID are integral parts of digital warehouse settings. While the initial cost of setting up automation components and machines may seem expensive, it cuts down labour cost drastically in the long run. RFID tags are essential for stock updating and tracing stolen or lost products. Centralization of warehouses reduces the need for regional centers, decreasing logistics cost. Of course, every solution has its cons, but using centralized servers and backups prevent technological mishaps.
Logistics is a key aspect of the supply chain as well. With increasing online purchases, supply chains have to be flexible and logistics support must be capable of reaching every nook and cranny of the country. This can lead to incurring greater logistic costs, unless one applies smart solutions, for instance, contracting other, larger third-party logistics providers who have better access and faster national and regional outreach. The Future Supply Chain is the dominant player in India in logistics support and can help in reducing capital expenditure of a retail business since assets like transportation and warehouses are owned by the third party. With liberal use of high-end technology like vehicle tracking systems, dynamic put-to-light sorting system, RF-enabled warehouses, and visibility of shipment packages with transportation management systems, supply chain management cost, and issues are alleviated greatly.
Integration of many other key factors is required for a seamless multichannel shopping experience, but retail businesses can incorporate cost reduction and effectiveness with digitalization and third-party logistics before shifting their focus on other aspects, because, as the saying goes, perseverance is the key to success.
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