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In recent years retailers have gone through a supply chain revolution, greatly reducing inventories and outsourcing to lower-cost regions with tremendous benefits. But these changes have made supply chains leaner, more complex and much more vulnerable. It’s obvious that today’s interconnected supply chains are simply no longer robust enough to cope with even small hiccups – businesses need to bring the resilience back.
The case for stronger supply chains was demonstrated in March 2011 when earthquakes and tsunamis crippled Japan, leaving the automotive industry in tatters. And this was by no means a unique event: the Thai floods, L’Aquila earthquake and Hurricane Sandy all served to further expose the fragility of many global supply chains.
Businesses are only too well aware of the precarious situation in which they find themselves. According to our own research, 40% of directors believe that allowing no room for error has made them more vulnerable to disruption.
So how can retailers strengthen their supply chain? There are four key steps which can ensure true supply chain resilience:
Encouragingly, retailers and businesses are aware of potential issues and have begun to act accordingly. Those which have invested in resilience measures have seen marked improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction and competitiveness. Customers today expect to be able to do business with organisations whenever they want and failure to provide services is viewed as unacceptable. Supply chain resilience can directly affect business revenues – don’t be let down by weak links.
An article on this subject was published in Retail Digital on 16/04/13: http://www.retail-digital.com/retail_technology/retail-resilience-strengthen-your-supply-chain