Integration Puts Retailers Back in the Supply Chain Driver’s Seat

Blog5 Minute Read

There is so much that retailers don’t have control over: backups in ports, labor strikes, and global supply chain disruptions. The infrastructure and back-end systems has not had the investment around it to handle the changes we have seen in the global supply chain. Integrations can help retailers take back control.

According to new research from Coupa Software, nine out of 10 retailers anticipate revenue will continue to be impacted by supply-chain issues for at least the next six months, well into 2022.

There is so much that retailers don’t have control over: backups in ports, labor strikes, and global supply chain disruptions. The infrastructure and back-end systems (and the information and data contained in these systems) has not had the investment around it to handle the changes we have seen in the global supply chain.

Goods in Motion - Connect the process first!

COVID-19 changed the game. And changed it rapidly. Big Box retailers, and for that matter most retailers, were left with too much inventory in their brick-and-mortar stores and short-changed in their eCommerce distribution and warehouse networks.

So, by analyzing information across the supply chain, there are typically several blind spots. An example? How about international shipping: Knowing the customs clearance or dock appointments may give you a better view of your supply chain, and even better, tie in purchase order to warehouse receipt. The issues? These processes jump across several technology stacks.

With a complete lack of end-to-end visibility across applications like sales and operational planning, transportation management and asset management, these same retailers were left with massive blind-spots across their supply chain for all goods in motion.

Critical Need: Real-Time, Data Sharing Across Supply Chain Partners

Optimizing these processes is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a MUST HAVE that directly ties to bottom line revenue, complete with it’s own measurable ROI.

Companies like Walmart, Target, and Macy’s are outrunning supply chain issues with spending, but experts say that's because they can afford the extra cost. Not everyone can afford to hire 30,000 new people (as Target is doing). Some companies will need to rely on smarter usage of existing supply chain infrastructure. 

Integration Brings Many Benefits

While retailers can’t control everything, knowing where your stuff is and when it will arrive is a big piece of the puzzle.

Once you have connected digitally with your trading partners, benefits include:

  • Faster invoice time
  • More responsiveness to unforeseen events
  • Faster inventory turns

Supply chain professionals need to look at connecting the systems in place now, and connecting the data to ensure visibility through the entire end-to-end lifecycle. This could be a daunting task which would require a LOT of development time to put into place if you handle it internally.

Do you have to rip out all of your tech stack and invest in shiny new technology? No. This is a process problem. Start there.

That’s Where Chain.io Comes In

At Chain.io, we’ve baked decades of supply chain expertise into our network. More than just transforming data, we transform businesses by aligning systems with industry best practices.

At the heart of our network is a canonical data model that lets companies work together even when they use software built in different decades.

If your software is new and you want to work with partners with older tech, we can help. If you’re working with partners whose tech is lightyears ahead of yours, we can help. We want to do the dirty work of integrations so that your team has time to focus on what you do best: innovating great products and selling them to customers who want them, when they want them.

Takeaway

Connecting your supply chain network will produce the greatest benefits in terms of visibility and efficiency. Here’s what to do now.

It’s simple. Tear down the silos. Connect what you have. Connect your trading partners. You have the data. Connect with your carriers. You have the data. Connect your freight forwarders. You have the data.

We see retailers, carriers and freight forwarders with 100+ trading partners. It’s virtually impossible to pivot and develop all those interfaces in-house in time to react to the market changes we’ve seen over the past 2 years.

Not to worry, though. Chain.io has been implementing many of these connections already.

Would you like to hear some case studies and best practices? Let's set up time to connect!

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By Dan Boutin
written on January 19, 2022

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