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Collaboration and agility are key to success in managing modern retail supply chains

Earlier in June K Hartwall held a one day seminar at Cranfield University, supported by the CILT, looking at the supply chain challenges faced by modern retailers.

The retail environment is evolving fast to support new consumer shopping habits.  The growth of convenience and home delivery mean supply chains are facing new challenges to make sure they can meet consumer demands.

Our seminar welcomed representatives from logistics providers, retailers and academics to listen to and feedback on the challenges they believe are affecting this modern supply chain demand.  Presentations from Tesco, Arla and K Hartwall explored how the retail environment has changed over the last 50 years and the impact that this has had on logistics and the delivery of goods to the consumer

During the seminar a number of challenges were discussed and some of the more common and problematic themes were reviewed with regard to modern retail supply chains – those being

  • Driver availability / turnover
  • Asset management, availability and tracking
  • Consumer expectations vs fulfilment cost
  • Stock management and forecasting

Finding solutions to these problems, when the market and technology is changing so rapidly is a real challenge for supply chain professionals.  And whilst it is true that no two supply chains are the same, we did come across a few common themes when discussing how to implement sustainable long term solutions for managing product delivery in modern retail.

Supply chain collaboration across all steps in the supply chain was critical to ensure smooth communication, effective partnerships and facilitate real value adding solutions when managing product supply.

Agile solutions that facilitate quick changes in the supply chain as products and consumer demands change over time allow longer term investments to be sustainable and cost effective.

We have seen more change in retail in the last 10 years than in the previous 50.  Predicting how the next 10 years will evolve is almost impossible.  But knowing that it will change, and building collaborative partnerships and agile supply chains may likely be the difference between successfully meeting consumer demands or failure.

Following the success of this conference, K Hartwall will be hosting further events in 2018.  For further information please watch out for a newsletter and website updates.

Paul Straw,
UK Sales Manager

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