While consumer products companies and retailers have experienced their share of changes over time, the rapid transformation we are seeing now has some interesting and unique drivers.
Supply chains and business models are in the hot seat as technology is changing (and will continue to change) everything.
Let’s take a quick look back. The main processes of the end-to-end supply chain are: Design, plan, buy, make, move, store and sell. In the past, consumer products companies had supply chains that did the first three-fourths of this list. Then the retailer’s supply chains did the last fourth. But increasingly, both industries are required to do all of it – the whole end-to-end supply chain.
Why? Because changing customer preferences spring from the use of new technology.
For example, Pew Research recently reported that a third of American adults own a tablet computer. With smartphones – and products being developed such as Google Glass, wearable smartwatches, and even something called a ‘phablet,’ – customers have fresh options to make purchases on the run from a huge selection of products. They can also very easily compare prices.
Of course, customers also want shopping that is convenient. Technology gives them this as well, with home delivery and in-store pick-up that they have come to expect in this age of the Amazon Effect.
Retailers and consumer products will continue to make strides toward an omnichannel presence that gives customers all of these options. One particular sector of consumers is the ‘connected generation,’ 18-34 year-olds who prefer to use payment alternatives and apps to review products and create shopping lists. Read more about how Millennials are shaking up retail and consumer products in this article.
If you are managing supply chains in these industries, how are you handling this major shake-up in the full end-to-end operational model? How do you see the latest technologies impacting your fulfillment and delivery?
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