“Modern Grocery Retail” & the Emerging-market consumer : A complicated courtship | McKinsey

In some “Emerging Markets”, the response to “Modern Grocery” formats has been tepid. What’s a Modern-Grocer to do ??

20 years ago, Modern Grocery Retail appeared poised to conquer every consumer market in the world. Ambitious European grocers, having blanketed their home countries with Supermarkets and Hypermarkets, began setting their sights on growth both within and beyond the continent. They held particularly high hopes for China, India, and other emerging markets, where fast-rising consumer spending seemed to presage an unprecedented demand for gleaming new stores with large assortments, wide aisles, and bright lighting.

In the 1990s, the term “modern grocery retail” was essentially a proxy for a small group of multinational grocers including Ahold, Aldi, Auchan, Carrefour, Costco, Lidl, Metro, Tesco, and Walmart…It was widely presumed that these retailers’ entry into any market would lead to the demise of the traditional trade—the family-owned grocery chains, small independent stores, and informal merchants that at the time accounted for the vast majority of grocery sales in emerging markets. The prevailing expectation was that although there would be local differences due to cultural specificities, in every country the retail landscape would eventually consist of a combination of modern formats: full-line supermarkets and hypermarkets, convenience stores, and discounters..

These assumptions have been proved wrong. Global grocery giants are struggling to grow profitably in many emerging markets… whereas, Traditional trade has proved remarkably resilient…And the market and channel structures taking shape in individual emerging economies are distinct from one another, following no obvious pattern.

Why did this happen? What, if anything, did multinational grocers do wrong? And what does it mean for the future of modern retail in emerging markets?

The Hypermarket’s shortcomings:

To understand the disparity between early expectations and the current reality, it’s useful to examine the roots of the two quintessential modern-trade formats: the supermarket and the hypermarket. The hypermarket in particular—whether in its European form (in which food anchors a massive selection of nonfood items) or its North American one (the “supercenter,” which represents the successful injection of food and grocery into a general-merchandise discount store)—was widely regarded as unbeatable. By offering tens of thousands of products in an immense building just outside or on the edge of a town or city, a hypermarket could operate at a level of productivity that other grocery formats struggled to match. Hypermarket operators passed on these efficiency gains to consumers in the form of lower prices, which served to reinforce hypermarkets’ advantage.

In their first forays into other developed markets abroad, major retailers relied heavily on the hypermarket format. When French retailers Auchan, Carrefour, and Promodès opened hypermarkets in Spain during the first years of Spanish economic reform, they quickly captured a large fraction of that country’s overall grocery sales and dictated the market structure that remains in place to this day.

Expansion across Europe was an exciting growth prospect, but even more enticing to retail leaders and investors was the growth potential of emerging markets. Over the years, that potential has become even clearer: by 2025, we expect emerging markets to account for $30 trillion in consumer spending, or nearly half of global consumption.

When multinational grocers entered emerging markets, they again relied on the grocery formats that were working so well in the developed world. But, in retrospect, it’s clear that the countries in which the hypermarket prospered had several characteristics in common: good road networks and high or fast-rising car-ownership rates, a large middle class that enjoyed decent wages and stable employment, and a high proportion of rural and suburban households with enough room at home to store groceries bought in bulk. Also, those markets had grown to maturity at a time when many women didn’t return to work after having children and therefore had time during the day to drive to and from the store. The hypermarket format draws heavily on consumers’ time, ability to travel, and storage capacity…

In Emerging Markets, retailers encountered an entirely different context. Consumers were less affluent and lived in urban areas; many didn’t own a car, couldn’t afford to travel to and from a relatively far shopping destination, had no room at home to store purchases, or all of the above..

A new respect for localism:

Further complicating matters, emerging markets weren’t just different from developed markets; emerging markets also differed from one another in nontrivial ways. That was true in the 1990s and it remains true today. Based on our research—which involved in-depth study of the retail sector in ten developing countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, as well as interviews with more than 20 local retail and consumer experts and analysis of channel-growth data in these markets—we’ve developed a perspective on the factors that have hampered the growth of modern trade in emerging markets.

On both the demand side (what customers want from retailers) and the supply side (the means by which retailers can deliver what customers want), different factors shape the retail ecosystem in each country. Together, these factors produce wide variability in the level of modern-trade development in countries around the world (Exhibit 1).

On the demand side, for instance, food-shopping habits have turned out to be largely localized and deeply entrenched. Emerging-market consumers tend to prepare their own meals and cook more than their peers in developed markets do, and they are accustomed to shopping at open-air market stands or small neighborhood grocery stores that offer a familiar selection of fresh food and household staples. They don’t necessarily perceive customer service at modern retailers as superior to that of the traditional trade. Customers of India’s kirana stores—small, family-owned retail shops in or near residential areas—already benefit from personal service from the store owner, free home delivery, and credit and cash rebates if they remain loyal..

On the supply side, a big factor is the informality of traditional trade: many small retail businesses rely on unpaid labor from family and friends, pay no rent because they own their storefronts, and don’t pay corporate taxes. Modern retailers cite this informality as a major challenge when competing with local retailers. A European hypermarket chain found that its considerable operating-cost advantage from better sourcing and supply-chain processes was canceled out by the fact that it was paying taxes while local competitors were not..

Another major factor affecting modern trade is public policy. India’s restrictions on foreign direct investment have limited the growth of modern retail there; in China, by contrast, city governments are assessed on the level of economic activity and foreign investment they attract, which makes them biased toward supporting modern trade. As a result, modern-trade penetration in China’s largest cities has grown significantly over the past 15 years..

A further supply-side factor in emerging markets is the fragmented supplier base, which places a natural limit on the benefits of scale. A retailer can’t source products as efficiently as it would in a mature market because it must buy from a complex network of regional and local entities. And even retailers with a national buying team won’t easily find national manufacturers who are eager to partner with them—a point we pick up on later.

Incumbent advantage is yet another powerful factor shaping retail ecosystems. Today’s market dynamics tend to become tomorrow’s market structure—so, for example, in markets in which a highly efficient wholesale system serves the traditional trade, it becomes much harder for modern grocers to gain a foothold. That said, wholesalers can also be vanguards of modernization. In Turkey, for instance, some Bizim Toptan stores have developed a substantial retail business. These wholesalers-cum-retailers illustrate the fact that ecosystems in emerging markets are partly shaped by players that can concentrate and coordinate a critical mass of what otherwise is a complex set of routes to market..

“Seven” strategic levers for success:

In parts of the world where the market structure is itself still in a formative stage, retailers need a bespoke strategy. Our research and experience suggest seven strategic levers that lead to success in emerging markets. These levers—having to do with delivering what consumers want, working effectively with other players in the ecosystem, and generating lasting productivity advantages—reflect perennial concerns for retailers everywhere, but they are especially critical in helping retailers secure a profitable future in the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The levers are by no means comprehensive. For one, they don’t touch on digital technology, which may well be just as important in emerging markets as in developed ones; indeed, rapid adoption of smartphone technology may allow emerging markets to leapfrog more mature markets and reconfigure the value chain farther upstream (for example, by giving smaller suppliers direct access to national and even global markets). Rather, we draw attention to areas that we believe require deliberate action in emerging markets-

1. Prioritize proximity.

2. Keep prices low—and make sure consumers know.

3. Obsess over productivity.

4. Make the business case to manufacturers.

5. Educate policy makers on the benefits of modern trade.

6. Consider partnering with the traditional trade.

7. Adopt a city-based strategy.

For any modern retailer, success in emerging markets isn’t guaranteed. Our research confirms the complexity and local specificity of market development and the degree to which it depends on initiatives taken not just by retailers but also by governments, manufacturers, wholesalers, and others in the local retail ecosystem. International retailers thus need to become experts at local tailoring. That said, operating in emerging markets still unquestionably requires excellence in core retailing competencies: marketing, merchandising, supply-chain management, and talent development, to name just a few…

Modern Retailers that excel in all these areas in the context of markedly different emerging-market structures will, in a sense, have conquered the world..!!

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“Avoiding Hidden Margin Erosion” in Mid-Market Supply-Chain Operations | by: Brad Huff | Supply Chain Digital

According to the Middle Market Indicator (MMI), 85 percent of middle market executives cite the ability to maintain margins as a somewhat to highly challenging issue..

This should be no surprise, considering mid-market companies are squeezed between large and small cap businesses: they must streamline product manufacturing and delivery operations as much as larger companies, yet be as nimble as smaller companies. As a result, they have a unique set of challenges that make margin management even more critical..

Today’s combination of increasingly complex supply chain operations and the availability of more accessible/affordable technology means mid-market companies can and should take a deeper look into these areas as a means to maximise margins..

Mid-market supply chain operations explained

Hidden Planning and Forecasting Areas:

Mid-market companies often must focus so tightly on delivering quality products and services to their customers that investing resources into analyzing and fixing what appear to be minor supply chain issues might not seem practical or even feasible. It’s true that each of these less obvious areas does not cause significant margin erosion on its own; however, many mid-market companies can suffer from a number of combinations of these issues. When evaluated in that context, the impact on profitability can be noteworthy…

Evaluating materials based on landed cost instead of the item’s unit cost is a growing trend in planning and procurement. Materials planning based on landed cost allows companies to factor transportation and logistics costs into the contract item cost for more visibility into actual materials expense..

Forecasting is also an area that can impact margins. Without reliable forecasting processes and tools, a company can easily order the wrong quantity of materials. “Projecting heavy” unnecessarily consumes warehouse space, increases the risk of waste or loss, raises taxes, and impacts inventory turns. “Projecting light” drives up procurement and transportation costs, as well as increases the risk of materials run-out. Fortunately, there are a number of low-investment ways to increase accuracy, such as increasing collaboration with customers to gauge future demand, integrating marketing plans and projections to prepare for order spikes or lulls, or increasing forecast sharing and communication with suppliers via a collaboration portal or other automated workflow system..

Hidden Inbound and Receiving Areas:

Ordering and receiving inefficiencies, such as a lack of automation and collaboration in critical areas, play a quiet yet potentially large contribution to reduced profits. Automating workflow tasks between buyers and suppliers such as sending, receiving, acknowledging and approving purchase orders can enhance processing speeds by more than eighty percent while reducing costs by approximately 83 percent..

But the benefits go beyond the initial savings. Automation also increases purchase order throughput and allows you to focus efforts on quickly resolving issues that require human attention. Configurable workflow helps to ensure compliance so what is shipped always matches what is ordered. With simpler implementation and more user-friendly interfaces, these solutions can consolidate product and order communications to help minimize disputes as well as empower planners to better forecast demand..

Carrier and delivery windows:

According to Refrigerated Transporter, “Supply chain compliance is now a vital component of logistics transactions and supplier relationships.” Requiring fixed materials delivery windows from suppliers is a growing trend in supply chain management that impacts margin on both the buyer and supplier side..

In recent years, improvements have been made in receiving dock scheduling systems in an effort to help warehouse managers and supply chain professionals streamline operations and reduce unnecessary cost. As a result, more companies now require dock reservations for inbound orders, including financial penalties for suppliers who deliver off-schedule..

For example, in 2010, Walmart joined other retailers in imposing a penalty on suppliers that failed to deliver products within the company’s prescribed four-day window. Under the policy, suppliers whose products arrive at Walmart before or after that period face a three-percent penalty based on the cost of the goods..

Before the policy went into effect, Walmart requested delivery within the four-day period, but suppliers had no incentive to actually adhere to that schedule. Although it was not the first to adopt this policy, Walmart’s status as the world’s largest retailer prompted a domino effect that continues to affect supply chains to this day…as late/early delivery fees are now the norm for many industries..

Installing a functionally strong shipment collaboration solution can help to reduce and/or eliminate these less obvious/hidden logistics areas that eat into margin. These types of solutions allow order fulfillment thresholds such as delivery windows, order quantity, and carrier selection/mode to be configured and validated prior to shipment release..

Advanced Shipment Notices (ASNs) and package/container traceability are also typically included, along with pre-formatted, compliant labeling to further reduce receiving dock errors…As a result, all stakeholders across the buy side and the supply side have real time visibility for more accurate resource and materials planning through the rest of the supply chain..

In “Omni-channel Retail”, It’s Still About Detail | BCG

“As omni-channel retail increasingly moves from concept to reality, consumers are sending a clear message : Convenience is king…”

But the days when convenience could be defined solely in terms of drive times and the in-store experience are long gone. In today’s reality, “convenience” means letting customers decide when, where, and how to shop. They want to order anytime, anywhere, and from any device; to get their purchases in the store, at a separate delivery location, or through home delivery; to determine their own shopping and delivery or pick-up windows to fit their busy schedules; and to be able to return items at any of the store’s retail locations, hassle-free..

The Rise of Click-and-Collect Retail:

The emergence and growth of click-and-collect retail—which allows shoppers to order an item online and then go get it at a nearby store location or pick-up point—is evidence of the power of convenience in the omnichannel world. For many shoppers, the click-and-collect experience offers a more convenient mix of speed, quality, and flexibility than either traditional shopping or standard home delivery…

Already, 35 percent of shoppers who buy items online have used click-and-collect retail to pick up their purchases, and that proportion will increase to more than 75 percent of shoppers by 2017, according to retail researcher Planet Retail. Shoppers in France can pick up their groceries at more than 2,000 “click and drive” facilities. On the basis of our experience with leading retailers, we expect substantial growth in the use of such services.

Done right, click-and-collect retail can be a way for brick-and-mortar retailers to differentiate themselves from pure-play e-tailers by leveraging their existing store assets to offer fast delivery, low prices, and even greater convenience. That’s why many traditional retailers are eager to capitalize on this opportunity..

But click-and-collect retail can also pose real risks for retailers that fail to execute it flawlessly. A recent survey by market researcher E-consultancy.com found that as many as 60 percent of online consumers in the UK and U.S. said they would not shop at retailers that failed to deliver on their promises. This is as true for click and collect as it is for home delivery—particularly when it comes to apparel, a sector where customers expect to pick up the exact size and color they ordered and not a close substitute. In a hyper-competitive retail environment, an annoyed customer is likely a lost customer..

Supply Chain Imperatives:

So, for retailers that seek to make click-and-collect retail a core component of their omni-channel #RetailStrategy, many specific #Supply-chain capabilities are required. (See Exhibit 1)..All are important, but in our experience, it all begins with providing shoppers—and store associates—with accurate, real-time information on product availability…

One way to manage this critical capability in a click-and-collect retail environment is to deliver the customer order from a distribution center to the store, as UK retailer John Lewis does. Centralizing click-and-collect fulfillment in distribution centers concentrates and simplifies the inventory management challenges. But it also adds precious time to the order-to-pick-up cycle, putting off impatient customers who might simply buy the item elsewhere next time. And many retailers’ legacy distribution networks are ill equipped to fulfill customer orders from existing distribution centers, which are typically designed to pick large orders for stores.

For many retailers, then, a better solution is to pick click-and-collect orders from store stock. But getting the basics of in-store inventory management right presents a real challenge in terms of meeting customers’ expectations about availability. In our experience, a store’s balance-on-hand accuracy can be as low as 60 percent, which would be disastrous for click-and-collect customer satisfaction. Search online for “click and collect” for many big-name retailers, and you will see a slew of messages from customers describing poor experiences and products not being available when buyers turned up to collect them, even though the website had indicated that the goods were in stock. That’s why at Best Buy, for example, clerks physically doublecheck the availability of every item in every click-and-collect order in the stores themselves to overcome unreliable in-store inventory.

Why the poor performance? In support of their initial omnichannel offers, many retailers have chosen to focus first on building new infrastructure—pick-up points, distribution centers, delivery networks, IT systems, and even new stores. No doubt, these solutions can be critical components of a successful long-term omni-channel strategy, but getting the basics right, including in-store inventory, is often the most important first step to creating immediate impact and options for the future…

Back to Basics:

Best-in-class players focus on making in-store processes efficient, rigorous, and self-correcting; their processes are consistent with our six “golden rules” of inventory management. (See Exhibit 2.) No IT system can account for products mistakenly left in the back room, inaccurate distribution-center deliveries, removal of damaged goods from shelves that is not captured by the inventory system, check-out errors, and theft. These unavoidable issues, and their consequences, must be accounted for and captured, accurately, by the inventory system. This often needs to be done by a real person, properly incentivised and managed. Ideally, every touch of inventory at every point in the process should validate, correct, or improve inventory accuracy. In our experience, major retailers with such self-correcting systems and processes can achieve balance-on-hand accuracy of greater than 95 percent; at that level, the impact on items popular with customers is marginal…

Building such an approach, however, requires getting all the details right: understanding where errors occur, why they occur, and what solutions can be implemented consistently and effectively by store employees. In this endeavor, the devil really is in the details…

Eventually, emerging technologies will likely become a key part of the solution as well. Radio frequency identification, or #RFID, for example, has the potential to dramatically improve the accuracy of the information that supply chains depend on. Unfortunately, the ability to tag individual items economically and to scale up the technology to the needs of large retailers is still several years away. In-store cameras are a promising alternative for monitoring store stock, but they will require further developments in high-quality processing and image recognition if they are to make a difference. But even the most advanced technology will never entirely substitute for the disciplined in-store behavior needed to drive true inventory accuracy…

Thriving in an #OmnichannelRetail environment will require a host of different fulfillment capabilities. Retailers must design and execute the best possible customer service across all retail channels, build the infrastructure needed to ensure consistent pick-up and return processes, and continually capture and analyze the data needed to understand their customers and customers’ expectations of each channel so that stocking and flow strategies can be adjusted accordingly.

But that’s a longer-term goal. Near term, #Retailers, that seek to capture their fair share of the growth in click-and-collect shopping should focus first on getting the basics of stock accuracy right. Doing so will deliver near-term benefits to the #Bottomline and position them for success, no matter what #OmnichannelStrategy, they decide to pursue…

“Flipkart vs Amazon” : “How they Stack up in India” | VCCircle

” Amazon chief Jeff Bezos says that at the current scale and #GrowthRates, India is on track to be its fastest country ever to reach $1 billion in Gross Sales…”

The big daddy of #OnlineCommerce, in India hit a new milestone bagging a record $1 billion in Fresh #Funding…In less than 24 hours of this announcement, the one thousand pound Gorilla of selling things online, Amazon followed it up with $2 billion in Fresh Investment commitment in India…!!

Mind you, in the #ServicesBusiness, paying salaries to employees and adding human skill set are also considered investment and with both firms employing thousands, a good chunk of this money could be simply about paying wages (though Flipkart has said it’s looking much beyond using investors’ money to burn in existing operations)…Moreover, this could also include the imputed value of discounts to be offered to consumers…

Nevertheless, the numbers are huge and have just raised the decibel levels in the Indian #E-commerce, sector…Here we attempt to glance at how Amazon & Flipkart, are stacked against each other when it comes to India in terms of some comparable Metrics and other Features….!!

Products on offer:

Amazon claims that in just over a year it had pooled in vendors to offer as many as 17 million products on its site. It has not clarified whether this represents #StockKeepingUnits or #SKUs, but that is what it most likely means…#Flipkart, which has been in operations for almost seven years now, looks to be on a weak wicket here as its latest communication says it stocks over 15 million products. #Snapdeal is far behind with over 5 million products…!!

Indeed, what really matters is how much they are able to sell, but in terms of offering to the #Consumer, Amazon seems to have done a much better job and far quicker too..

#Amazon, does not share finer details about how many users it has in India ; so that one is not comparable…Flipkart, in contrast, says it has 22 million registered users clocking over 4 million daily visits and is delivering 5 million shipments a month, which in itself is huge…

Who Sells More ?

Flipkart said early this year it has hit the milestone of $1 billion #GrossRrevenue (#GrossMerchandiseValue or #GMV) run rate (which means based on monthly sales on its site it is set to cross $1 billion in GMV over the next 12 months (though its latest official communication erroneously says it has become the first Indian e-com firm to hit $1 billion in GMV)…

Amazon, though public listed, does not share India-specific numbers but its founder and chief Jeff Bezos has just said that at the current scale and growth rates, India is on track to be its fastest country ever to reach $1 billion in gross sales. It is estimated that it took it years to cross the revenue benchmark even in China, where it has been present since 2004 and another market dominated by local giants…But it would be fair to assume that Flipkart currently outsells Amazon..

Interest in Virtual World:

This one is somewhat superfluous but we look at it to get some additional insights. Rather than looking at Alexa (which is dismissed by many as not too accurate) or comScore (which we don’t have access to), we considered Google Trends to see how the two sites stack up against each other…

As the graph shows, Flipkart has been under the radar for over five years but really took off only three years ago and with momentary blips has been on an ascend. Amazon has been growing at about the same pace as Flipkart after its launch in June 2013… However, it seemed to have gained pace in April this year and surpassed Flipkart and though the gap has narrowed since then, it seems to have stayed at the top this month too.

Amazon Prime vs Flipkart first:

Not much of a comparison really, as Amazon Prime, the paid membership programme of Amazon, is not yet present in India. However, Flipkart has got a head start with launch of its own version of the premium membership last month. Though its benefits are limited to one vendor (more on that later), it manages to stand up against Amazon’s Fulfilled by Amazon service under which consumers are already getting free deliveries for majority of products sold on the platform.

Flipkart First (at present in a free trial period for randomly chosen members) is currently limited to free or subsidised delivery benefits for a section of its product assortment besides an early access to hot products.

Where the battle may be won, however, is other bling factor in terms of digital content strapped for free. Amazon already offers such content for its Prime members and early this year paid a bomb for a package of shows from HBO which now comes free to its premium members. It also offers movies, music on the go and free e-books for its Kindle users as part of the membership.

Flipkart has got the platform to redo this. But having tried and exited digital music store it would be a challenge for it to sew such content deals going forward…It remains to be seen by when Amazon would roll out Prime membership in India.

X-Factor:

One crucial thing in the e-com war could be the key vendor on the sites. In the case of Flipkart it is WS Retail, which used to be the in-house and sole seller through the platform before it turned a marketplace early last year. This firm is owned by an angel investor and employees of Flipkart, to comply with FDI norms. However, this is a key player for Flipkart….Although, the breakup of sales from WS Retail and other vendors is not in the public domain, it is estimated that the bulk of its sales are through this vendor (it also happens to be the partner for Flipkart’s run away hits like Motorola Moto series of handsets)…WS Retail also happens to be a key spoke in its Flipkart First offering, at least for now…

Amazon is still dependent on its third-party vendor base to sell in India. However, it has reportedly sealed an unconventional deal with Catamaran Ventures, the private investment arm of Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy. Catamaran is holding a majority stake in a venture which is supposed to work at the back-end of operations for Amazon in India. However, this is seen as the first step for preparing groundwork for Amazon to start selling in India on its own as and when (as anticipated soon) multi-brand online retail is brought on par with offline retail in terms of FDI norms.

This could really pump up the activity for Amazon and take the competition right to the door steps of Flipkart….!!

Apparel:

Flipkart has strengthened its apparel vertical, one of the juiciest part in terms of margins by acquiring Myntra early this year. Although Amazon also has launched apparel section, Myntra provides a strong positioning and vendor base to Flipkart which can be important going forward.

Myntra remains a separate site but its chief is now involved in strategy making for Flipkart’s own apparel vertical and that can help the firm boost sales from this segment going forward.

To be fair, Amazon may well acquire a Myntra rival (say, a Jabong, for instance) to plug this gap that would be dependent on nifty deal structuring.

Reviews, #VendorServices, Fulfilment Centres:

One differentiator for Amazon globally is its enviable consumer reviews, which helps a prospective buyer to decide in their purchase decisions. Flipkart too has built a strong review database and in many cases has a far comprehensive review section compared with Amazon’s Indian marketplace.

If customer acquisition was key metrics to focus for Flipkart or for that matter any internet commerce firm to begin with including Amazon, now add vendor acquisition to it.

The future pace of growth for both be partly if not fully dependent on how fast they add sellers to their platforms. A factor determining this would be how smooth Amazon or Flipkart offer to get their products to the consumer. This would in turn be dependent on the fulfilment infrastructure and logistics services offered by the two firms. Both Amazon and Flipkart have their own logistics units unlike many other horizontal e-tailers in India and vendor addition could be based on who takes the minimum fee or cut from the sale of products on the site. This is where the money aspect comes in where the fresh funding announcement of Flipkart and additional investment by Amazon make them even-steven.

Meanwhile, Amazon has just announced FIVE New #FulfilmentCentres, in India which would take total such facilities to seven in the country…Flipkart has FOUR such Centres at present and is also looking to expand the number…!!

We will get more insight on how the two firms are performing a couple of months down the line. So watch out this space for their actual revenues and growth in numbers…!!

“Modern Supply-Chain”: “No-more a mere Support-Function” | by: Pradeep Chechani | ET Retail

Gone are the days when Supply-chain used to be Restricted to Warehousing & Logistics..However, even today, there are few Indian Retailers who continue to Restrict #SupplyChain, to its old form…In the process, they have failed to create a differentiating factor for themselves…!!

How can a #SupportFunction, such as Supply-chain create a Differentiating Factor..?? Arguably, its no longer a Support Function now….!! Lets see How Supply-chain is being able to create a #WinningFactor for a Retailer in its #NewAvatar…!!

The following are the Functions which have been put into the Supply-chain kitty in this #ModernEra :

Vendor Management: #SupplyPartner, is the mast of any Retailer-ship…Merchandise is the main reason why a customer walks into the store, converts into a purchase and repeats the process multiple times. Within this vendor evaluation is a big process. Tying up with the right kind of vendors will ensure that a retailer provides the merchandise to the customer on a continuous basis, in the right quality and at the right price. A vendor can do this seamlessly if he is involved in the strategic and tactical decisions and processes of a retailer…

Volumes can be channelized to select few vendors so it becomes mutually beneficial. All this obviously leads to cost savings mainly in the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold).. And the percentage savings in the COGS contributes directly to the bottom line. Biggest impact of savings comes from here…!!

Order Management: Supply Chain is better equipped to bring the order into the store in the right time. Close coordination with Merchandise Planning & Buying teams is required. Warehousing & Logistics and replenishment can be planned in a better way..

Quality Assurance: Entwined with the order management process, QA logically falls under the supply chain function. Product technocrats are required at Quality Control levels. A quality assured process ensures that there are minimum delays in the manufacturing cycle of a product. This works well for the suppliers as well. A scientifically implemented Supplier Relationship Management system ensures time savings topped up with cost savings as well…

Inventory Management:Traditionally, almost 30% of the working capital is invested in Inventory. Optimising inventory can reap huge benefits for a retailer in interest costs and cash flows. Auto Replenishments, Drop Shipments, VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) are a few ways how better cash flow can be attained. For merchandise with fairly stable demand an auto replenishment model can implemented with auto orders being published on suppliers which meets the EOQ (Economic Order Quantity) and Delivery frequency. Drop Shipments are prominently used by ecommerce retailers where the vendor is issued an order once a sale is made. The inventory in this case lies with the vendor. VMI is an arrangement where inventory lies in the retailers premise but is managed by the vendor. These arrangements however are spearheaded in terms of negotiations by the merchandisers. Such kinds of push & pull supply chains are used for best utilization of inventory…

Reverse Logistics:As the volumes of modern retail is increasing, reverse logistics is becoming a big cause of concern. Retailers have started to dedicate space within their warehouses for this devil. One of the best preventive practices available here is RDDD (Revert, Divert, Dilute, Dispose) not necessarily in the same order. Where Revert stands for RTV (return to vendor), Divert is when a retailer can optimise the concerned inventory to other physical location, Dilute is where markdowns are made to sell this merchandise and Dispose when the shelf life has expired and the retailer has no other option but to dispose. However things like merchandise lifecycle, broken sizes, saleability, vendor agreements etc need to be thought through before implementation of the same…

Supply Chain for E-commerce businesses:#Ecommerce has opened a new set of challenges for modern supply chain…Supply Chain is a very critical part in this business and is still evolving to cater to Ecommerce business needs….Service which includes timeliness of delivery of the required product without any damage is one of the main factors for customer satisfaction…

Apart from the above factors the following pose a challenge to modern supply chain:

Courier: As & when the volumes on ecommerce are increasing this is becoming more & more challenging. First challenge is penetration into Tier C towns & rural India. Second challenge is reverse logistics. Almost 30% of deliveries get returned from the customers door itself. This also increases the probability to damage.

Customer Order Shipments: Ecommerce retailers require customer orders to be shipped from vendors. However this becomes difficult for a manufacturer who wants to focus on his core business that is manufacturing. As a result, consolidators are springing up who collate the inventories from various merchandise manufacturers/vendors. This gives respite to the ecommerce supply chain in terms of working capital and customer order shipments. However this increases the overall supply chain cost to some extent.

Just to summarise, there no rocket science to realise that #Modernisation, of supply-chain for a retailer can give an edge…..Coordinated #SupplyChain, will lead to timely order transmission and receiving merchandise in the right quantities & quality…. This will give a big boost to the sale…!!

Hence it is advised that due strategic importance should be given to this function….Specialists should be involved at early stages who can take supply chain and thereby the business to a different level altogether…!!

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala betting Highly on Retail”: “BCG expects sector to grow” to $200 bn in 5-7 years | Business-standard

India’s Billionaire-investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s, optimistic outlook on India’s Consumption-sector sent Retail Sector stocks soaring on Tuesday(25th June, 2014)…

Addressing Chief Executives from Retail and Consumer companies at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Retail & FMCG summit on Tuesday, Jhunjhunwala said retail stocks hadn’t done well over the past-decade but he expected this year to be different, as Higher Income-Levels (Discretionary spending power would increase) would ensure better growth for these companies…

Looking ahead, he said he remained optimistic of the government’s effort to put the economy back on track….Once there is a semblance of growth, Funds should be pouring money into the Retail sector, he said…!!

Jhunjhunwala said companies in the Sector (domestic discretionary consumption)were perfectly positioned to ride a wave of growth in the Indian consumer-industry…..” The opportunity (in retail) is going to be there for a good period of time. The competitive incentive is going to go up,” he said at the opening session of the summit…

Jhunjhunwala also believes implementation of the long-debated Goods and Services Tax (GST) will provide a much needed boost to the consumer goods sector, currently witnessing a slowdown, given the slacking pace of the economy….“GST is one advantage that will come to the (consumer) business in two years….I think, in general, it is going to make India more tax-compliant,” he said….!!

Successful Retailing models, from the Food & Grocery sectors to Footwear and Lifestyle products, have done exceedingly well on the stock markets and given very high returns to investors, he said..

On the future of retailing in India, Jhunjhunwala said he was in awe of the D-Mart (chain of hypermarket and supermarkets in India, started by R K Damani). business model, where the company owned a majority of the outlets and had pledged to sell all products five per cent below the maximum retail price. “D-Mart today has 75 shops, the turnover is about Rs 4,000 crore and is growing at about 25 per cent a year. He has set up a model. I think if you want to learn, you must study D-Mart,” he added.

The Boston Consulting Group’s report on retailing, issued at the summit, expects the sector in India to grow from the present $40 billion to $200 bn in the next Five to Seven years, as India’s consumption story remains robust….Retail models, especially in the food and lifestyle segments, have done exceedingly well and given high returns to investors…

The report has covered 45 Retail and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies. ..2014 will be a good year for retailing in India, as income levels have increased for much of the population…. Availability of a wide range of brands, from luxury goods to basic private label products, gave consumers more options to choose from and also boosted awareness of particular brands and products…

The FMCG sector has been annually growing at a consistent 11 per cent. This has been largely driven by steady growth in demand from consumers, who now have an array of brands to choose from. In the past five years, the growth had accelerated to 17 per cent. Though this had slowed in the past few quarters, India’s long-term consumer story remains intact. “FMCG is typically the last sector to slow down,” said ITC’s executive director for FMCG businesses, Kurush Grant. Over the past year, FMCG has also come under pressure and, hence, what is needed by the industry is to think about reviving itself, Grant said, adding recovery here will be faster than other sectors. Growing demand and rising incomes will continue to drive demand for lifestyle and FMCG products…

The BCG report highlights the need for and approach to how an integrated top-down effort to drive successful transformation can be undertaken in the FMCG and retail sectors..

There is a need to understand the consumer better and the last-mile connectivity distribution infrastructure and capabilities are critical to achieving success for FMCG businesses, it said…

“Retailers” believe “Supply-Chains Not Optimal”: Strategic Role of “SCM in an All-Channel World” | ET Retail

A majority of #GlobalRetailers believe that their Retail #SupplyChains, are currently “Not Optimal” in the current Retail environment, said a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for JDA Software…!!

As per the survey titled ‘CEO Viewpoint: The Strategic Role of Supply Chain in an All-Channel World’, 83 per cent of worldwide CEOs believe that their retail supply chains are currently not optimal for today’s changing retail environment..

” Digitally-connected Consumers have turned #RetailModels upside down as Omni-Channel Shopping has transformed Supply-chain from an important business concern to a mission critical one,” the survey said..

The survey pointed out that 50 per cent of CEOs recognise that their supply chain can be a strategic differentiator…!!

“As #MobileCommerce, comes of age, one of the biggest challenges facing CEOs is managing the transformation to Omni-channel retail,” it added..

However, as per the survey, only 34 per cent of CEOs consider the rise of omni-channel shopping to be an external threat while only 22 per cent said it will have a direct impact on their organisation.

” The rise of Omni-Channel is one of the most #Transformational Shifts that has occurred in Retail in recent times,” JDA Software chairman of the board,commented on the survey findings…

“Retailers who don’t understand the #StrategicAlignment, of their supply-chain with #ConsumerExpectations, are in danger of becoming non-competitive,” he added.

Survey said CEOs Top Priorities are ” centered on more traditional areas of growth” –” by entering into new regions and markets”, “by opening more Stores”, OR ” through Mergers & Acquisitions”…

” These priorities highlight potential #MissedOpportunities, for more than two-thirds of CEOs who failed to consider Enhancing #DistributionCapacity and Supply-chain as ” a key contributor to drive Profitable Growth”, the survey said…

CEOs think THREE Fundamental Risks will have the most impact on their organisation over the Next THREE Years :

  1. Increasing competitive threats (41 per cent).
  2. Margin erosion and cost reduction (39 per cent).
  3. Attracting and retaining customers (24 per cent).

This global survey was conducted amongst 409 Retail Chief-Executives…!!