The challenge of moving towards a new mastery of the supply chain.
“Previously separated sales channels must converge towards a unique path to market, which increases the complexity of the supply chain”. So says Marcel Beelen, Global Vice-president of Fashion & Lifestyle Business Development at DHL Supply Chain.
Fashion evolves towards a new design of the supply chain aimed at providing a better customer service.
At present, the essential element in the practice of retail business is, without a doubt, client satisfaction. Their degree of appreciation or dislike of the purchase experience will determine whether they become a loyal client, even an opinion leader to the brand, or if they are lost forever. If they are happy receiving the product in the agreed moment and it arrives to their door in the same conditions as promised, that client will come back.
Client satisfaction guaranteed.
According to the report titled Fashion in Flux: Mastering the omni-channel supply chain, conducted by Lisa Harrington, President at Iharrington Group LLC, together with DHL, there is a need for a new approach in the supply chain within the fashion industry that will highlight the importance of client satisfaction as the most relevant element in these times.
To make this claim, they used as basis the conversations they held with industry leaders who took part in roundtable discussions during the Fashion Master Class event. According to what they said there, “Buyers expect to get from retailers a satisfactory purchase and delivery experience on every level, where they are offered the same product selection, the same buying and delivery options, as well as the same service level regardless of how, where or when the interaction happens”.
Therefore, the supply chain’s role is key when it comes to client satisfaction during the purchase experience. In order to optimize all the resources of a retailer’s supply chain and to cover every point seamlessly from the manufacturer to the client, the ideal strategy is to use an omni-channel model.
Additionally, the authors of the report argue that sales companies are in a position to take advantage of certain facts such as the consumers’ willingness to decide on a purchase anywhere and at any moment. That is why retailers must achieve a supply chain adapted to the omni-channel model that makes it possible to develop and combine traditional delivery operations and the logistic processes of electronic commerce.
For all these reasons, we could say that we achieve the omni-channel model when we make relationship differences among channels –through which we reach our customers—transparent or invisible.
The fact that sales progress towards an omni-channel model with online stores and brick-and-mortar shops makes some sectors evolve, like the fashion industry. In this respect, Marcel Beelen declares that “achieving a supply chain adapted to the omni-channel model, from stock management to shipping and return, not only will satisfy clients, but it will also boost the companies’ profitability”.
Ultimately, in order to guarantee client satisfaction, it is necessary to design all internal processes of the retailer to that end. Therefore, as I previously mentioned, retailers need to establish strategies to balance out what is going on at the store with traditional supply chains and the logistics that supplement online sales.
For that reason, in my view, those of us responsible for sourcing must pay serious attention to the increasingly close relationship between production and sales, that is, between the first and the last link of the same chain.
We hold in our hands the possibility to provide an adequate and efficient response, within an omni-channel system, by planning the production in the shortest possible cycles, grouping materials, positioning the production of each model within the area that offers the best option, and being more and more versatile and flexible without sacrificing efficiency, control, and without increasing costs.
Yes, I agree, those are too many goals, but with determination and hard work, we can perfectly achieve them.
Until next time!
Article published in Directors & Managers