Opportunities abound in the retail industry; it is just a case of searching them out. Solutions and getting help are not the problem. Let’s see what pops right out at us: (1) trading partner collaboration; (2) transportation management; (3) pull, don’t push (4) drop-ship
With strong collaboration between trading partners, both parties can realize increased sales as well as improved inventory management. Electronic data interchange is the strong enabler of stronger relationships between retailers and their vendors. Many major retailers only allow selected vendors (larger or critical) to access retail-level information for the simple reason that it is labor-intensive if you go the old-fashioned ways (spreadsheets or email).
If you are a vendor on the outside looking in, you might see opportunities for improvements / productivity, but, so sorry, retailer is too strained to provide. But with a strong EDI strategy in place, retailers can easily share this crucial data with every trading partner. Yes, this data will need to be shared on a regular schedule in order to be extremely effective. It has got to be an on-demand dispersal of up-to-date inventory strategies.
Manual systems tend to “slow down” when staff gets overwhelmed with other projects. Guess what? Tension pops up between retailer and vendors. Finally we are seeing the benefits of collaboration and data availability that comes with EDI.
Transportation management can be difficult and require a high amount of detail. However, with a good EDI solution in place you can alleviate common dissatisfactions with real-time processing of both incoming and outgoing shipments. Load tenders help monitor what is going on and lets a company manage by exception. Time-sensitive documents can be processed immediately so no delays in the product flow.