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Fix Your Supply Chain Now

Retailers and manufacturers complain about a lack of visibility and an inability to forecast effectively, but few seem to understand that RFID technology can dramatically improve supply chain execution.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 20, 2019

I received an email last week promoting a new research study titled "2020: State of Retail Supply Chain Report," from eyefortransport, a website focused on the logistics and supply chain industries. Since radio frequency identification technology is used in supply chains, I downloaded the document to learn what the state of the retail supply chain is.

As I suspected, it's not good. In his introduction to the report, Alex Hadwick, eyefortransport's head of research, states: "No retailer or manufacturer that responded to our survey felt that their supply chain operation was extremely efficient." No one. None. Zippo. That tells you something.

Hadwick goes on: "Technologically, there is the need for huge innovation in the retail supply chain. In order to deal with the major challenges we have identified in our survey of more than 400 supply chain professionals, which are forecasting, visibility, reaction capability and system integration, there will need to be a step change in capabilities. Players across the space must address tracking mechanisms, analytical capabilities, warehouse coordination, automation, and route planning, all of which will need a digital-first approach."

The survey offers a lot of interesting facts, such as that 62 percent of respondents cited Microsoft Excel as their most used supply chain planning solution, and that 16 percent of surveyed companies said their ability to provide end-to-end visibility was poor or very poor, up from 5.4 percent in 2018. The biggest challenge for both manufacturers and suppliers, according to the study, is forecasting demand. This has been an issue since, well, forever. Forecasting will always be difficult because weather, sporting events, pop culture and other factors influence sales changes in unpredictable ways.

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