Retailers are missing out on gaining full control of their supply chain, according to new research released on Feb. 13 from Gravity Supply Chain Solutions. Eighty-five of U.S. retailers haven’t completed the digitization processes (using a cloud-based platform with real time visibility, and automation capabilities).
“Clearly, the supply chain is the final frontier of retail digitization, and while retailers are anxious about the cost, not moving from manual spreadsheet-based supply chain management towards digitized processes could cost them a whole lot more.” says Graham Parker, CEO of Gravity Supply Chain Solutions.
Not being digitized will cause retailers to struggle with speed to market and hampering their ability to efficiently allocate supply with demand with the knock-on impact of reducing sales, the report concludes.
The research which is based on interviews with 500 retail executives in the U.S. and the U.K. reveals that only 15% of U.S. retail businesses have completed supply chain digitization.
Despite this slow rate of digitization, the report finds that 60% of respondents see digitization as critical to creating seamless omnichannel retail experiences.
For retailers relying on manual supply chain management processes, cost is perceived to be the main blocker. This is the case for 46% of respondents whose supply chains remain undigitized. This could be attributed to a fear of failing to deliver ROI considering that a further 29 % cited the inability to justify cost as the most significant blocker to supply chain digitization.
Many U.S. respondents that have not completed digitization say they do recognize the value in doing so. For those yet to undergo digitization, 44% believe the lower cost of operation is the strongest benefit, followed closely by higher profit margins (40%), and greater customer experience (36%).
For those who have fully digitized their supply chains, one significant benefit has been better decision-making with 76% stating that they believe their organization has enough data and insight to make the right decisions about its supply chain.
More than 55% say that order tracking across all touchpoints has improved the customer experience while 53% say personalization of products has increased.
The most significant learning from this report is that the majority of retailers understand the value of supply chain digitization. Supply chain digitization presents a massive opportunity for retailers to improve customer loyalty and the correct solution can allow them to add analytical, predictive, and AI capabilities in phases to help meet consumer demand in the most efficient way possible.