For many small businesses, startups and even established family retail businesses, supply chain management may seem like an issue that only applies to big business interests. However, by streamlining retail supply chain management, even a small business can find ways to save money, increase efficiency and to make the best decision to maximize inventory and sales.
To help business owners new to the concept, a basic look at the benefits and options offered through retail supply chain management is an important part of the introduction to the concept. Comparing the possibilities to automate and manage the supply chain through specialized software will provide a clear picture of the efficiency and effectiveness of this solution.
A Working Definition
A good working definition of supply chain management for retail stores and eCommerce sites is the ability to look at how merchandise travels for suppliers to the end-customer at your store or website.
Think of it as a chain. Each link in the chain represents a potential point of efficiency or inefficiency. Without a system to be able to see, in real-time, how the product is moving through the supply chain there is no way to know where inefficiencies exist and how to address the problems.
However, with retail supply chain management software, both inbound and outbound merchandise movement through the system can be traced and monitored. This also highlights issues that may be occurring within the retail environment such as misplaced inventory, incorrectly priced merchandise or for tracking how the product is selling in relation to specific campaigns and promotions.
Using supply chain management for retail outlets allows for tracking from vendor to the end consumer, but it also reflects the movement of merchandise within the organization of stores. If there is a need to find inventory, to make decisions on the items to send to different stores or to understand if certain stores are meeting or exceeding sales targets, this system can provide the information needed.
With everything readily available, a small retailer has all the information and necessary tools to make the most effective decision for every link in the chain. This levels the playing field between big retailers and those in the small to mid-sized range in a way not possible before.