SCM D3 Supply Chain Summit Delivery Data Disruption and More

This year’s D3 Retail Supply Chain Summit took place recently. Supply chain executives of major and fast-growing retailers came together. They discussed the most crucial SCM challenges and opportunities affecting the industry today. This included both brick-and-mortar stores with online entities and e-commerce companies.

We met with hundreds of supply chain professionals. We did this during the course of the conference. The discussions always seemed to focus (in one way or another) on these three themes:

Home Delivery

As the demand for home delivery grows, retailers are learning that finding a reliable and cost-effective delivery partner is critical. They would need this to build and maintain their reputations in the marketplace.

Lifecycle Data Visibility

Gathering, analyzing and having the ability to act on data throughout the entire purchasing lifecycle to manage and meet consumer expectations continues to be a challenge.

Technology Disruption

Retailers now realize that artificial intelligence is no longer a pipe dream. Instead, it is a way to position a legitimate technology that will disrupt how they do business. Retailers’ next step is learning how to harness AI further. In particular, to create the most impact for their customers and operations.

Along those lines, I kicked off this year’s event with a keynote. It was on how retailers can simplify their business with applied intelligence. You can view the full keynote presentation here.

Of course, there were also many other retail industry concerns. These concerns made their way into the daily conversations. We had them with retail supply chain leaders from across the country.

Key Themes from Discussions

Driving costs of the supply chain also challenge many businesses. Many e-tailers and e-commerce departments at traditional retailers struggle in an on-demand world. They are trying to improve cost-effective methods to offer home delivery service. This is also for purchases that don’t qualify as small packages. Retailers can actually use “home delivery as a service” to drive costs out of their supply chains. They can do this with the right technology and resources. Here’s an example. Retailers have staff and associates working in their in-store environments. They could shift in and become part of the home-delivery solution. This is possible when armed with the right intelligence.

Businesses have the challenge of growing their business. Retailers should also contemplate a few things to grow their business. Number one is the continued expansion of the online marketplace. Retailers are making more products available on demand to all their consumers. They are doing this while marrying that with the “home delivery as a service” concept. Many also decide to take this approach. They can drive costs out of their shipping and logistics networks. This happens when they offer direct delivery to the home. This will enable their e-commerce business to expand fast.

SCM for Same-Day and In-Store Pickups

There are retailers that make same-day pickup or in-store pickups. These are available for consumers with online orders. In this case, they can incorporate a layer of artificial intelligence. It can factor in products that the online consumer abandoned in their shopping carts. Here’s an example. When that consumer picks up his or her order at the store, the AI empowers the customer service associate. This is through data accessed on a hand-held mobile device. It can showcase and re-recommend items. In particular, the ones that the consumer abandoned in the purchasing process. It’s a great upsell opportunity that will help retailers expand their business.

I had the opportunity to discuss these issues. Also, I tackled more technical questions in an onsite interview. I conducted it with EFT Supply Chain and Logistics Business Intelligence. They were the host of the summit.

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