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Next up for Retail Supply Chain: Inventory Orchestration

Subsequent up for Retail Provide Chain: Stock Orchestration

We don’t think too much about where a product is coming from when we shop online. That’s the way it should be. Consumers should have access to inventory regardless of its location and leave the fulfillment decision to retailers.

Consequently, to efficiently and profitably fulfill omnichannel customer orders, retailers need to better position inventory to match consumer demand, including working with vendors to fulfill customer orders directly.

Coordinating inventory availability and fulfillment processes to support omnichannel shoppers requires a new level of collaboration.

It’s time for omnichannel inventory orchestration

Customer-centric inventory orchestration will deliver more efficient customer fulfillment by making inventory insights available to key decision makers. To accomplish this, retailers should look to their B2B integration partners to provide smart trading network capabilities including:

  • Use your trading network as a source of analytical insight by harnessing transaction data.
  • Combine transactional data with other data sets to analyze customer demand and supply-chain performance trends.
  • Develop predictive analytic models that support real-time decisions for smarter fulfillment strategies.

Smart trading networks focus on efficient fulfillment

Customer-centric inventory orchestration will help retailers locate inventory closer to consumer demand to fulfill orders quickly, manage shipping costs effectively, and reduce markdowns. To orchestrate inventory based on customer demand across channels, retailers need universal inventory visibility.

Accessing data sets traditionally isolated in separate supply chain operational systems, like order management, inventory management, warehouse management, e-commerce, and transportation management, is key to getting a clearer picture of where inventory is located. The opportunity exists to integrate data from across these systems – data that’s readily available in a smart trading partner network.

Advanced analytics unlock valuable supply chain insight

Using data from various transactions on the network – like orders, shipments and inventory reports, retailers can quickly perform analysis to better match consumer demand to inventory across their supply chain.

  • Customer demand clustering: Combining POS and e-commerce sales data with geospatial data, retailers can analyze demand and determine the most effective fulfillment strategy by clustering customers by region or city.
  • Channel-based merchandise presentation: Preparing merchandise for different channels – a blouse shipped on a hanger for store purchase and in a polybag for online – puts enormous stress on the supply chain. Combining sales data and inventory designated for different channels, retailers and vendors can better plan merchandise allocations based on fulfillment strategy.
  • Customer fulfillment decisioning: Increasing customer drop-ship partnerships requires real-time visibility into available inventory at the vendor’s warehouse or 3PL. Combining vendor inventory with inventory available across the retailer’s distribution network, retailers can decide at point-of-purchase the fastest and most effective fulfillment point for a customer’s order.
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