Today it is more critical than ever to quantify the value impact of a technology investment in order to make a well-informed decision and drive consensus internally.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have increased the already high pressure on retailers to automate and streamline planning and execution processes. Having the right technology in place to be able to adapt to new or changing trends quickly will be a major success factor coming out of the crisis. It will also support a retailer’s long-term supply chain strategy in the need to become more agile and therefore less susceptible to disruptions on the local, regional, or global level.
Consequently, retail technology must be scalable, flexible, intelligent, and secure. Planning and inventory management systems must operate in near real-time, providing an integrated Merchandise Financial Planning that seamlessly integrates with Assortment Planning, Allocations, Demand Forecasting, Replenishment and Price and Promotion Management, connecting the dots between planning and execution of the business.
Together with Hobson & Company, a business value consulting firm, Mi9 Retail has explored how leading retailers are addressing common demand management challenges including:
- Increase sales by consistently delivering a better customer experience
Retailers need to be able to leverage their understanding of their customers to deliver an effective omnichannel retail experience. Customers want a seamless experience between channels and will reward retailers that meet those expectations with their business and continued loyalty. Increased competition requires that successful retailers more accurately plan and execute to have the right products available at the appropriate retail location to meet consumer needs.
- Control inventory costs through more effective planning
Effective retailers must strike the right balance between having the correct mix of products available for consumers and minimizing the cost of inventory on hand. In order to accomplish this objective, retailers must purchase the right products in appropriate quantities, effectively allocate inventory to the correct locations, and replenish that inventory in a timely manner. This level of inventory planning and execution requires comprehensive analytical and planning capabilities as well as accurate real-time visibility into store-level inventories.
- Drive productivity through automation and standardizing planning processes
Retail planning staff is required to process massive amounts of data at granular levels to effectively create, execute, and manage inventory plans. Many retailers lack the capabilities required to efficiently aggregate and analyze data which forces planners to execute that work manually. Effective retailers are implementing systems that automate the aggregation and analysis of demand planning data, enabling staff to spend more time making data driven business decisions versus lower value data aggregation activities.
Interviews with Mi9 Retail customers uncovered that Mi9 solutions addressed customer challenges and delivered quick, measurable results with a high return on investment in the areas of increasing revenue, improving margins and streamlining processes.