Blog Article

What is the value of adaptability?

Aug 1, 2023
   |   by 
Bill Robinson

Take the supply chain:  retailers used to buy finished products from US-based sources where buyers depended on reliable shipping schedules, well-defined product lines and terms that stayed consistent season after season. Now the supply chain is unbundled, multi-national, and subject to extreme variations. Retailers have undertaken more of the vendor’s responsibility, from design, to sourcing, to distribution. Currency changes, inflation, and geo-political events cloud the certainty of receiving their goods on time and in good condition. Disasters brought on by pandemic or climate change keep supply chain uncertainties in the forefront.


The demand chain is no less volatile. A consumer’s smartphone provides an endless aisle of alternatives, complete with reviews and social media chatter that dwarf retailers attempt to be relevant. When someone shops, they want online information, expect 24x7 service, instant availability and an ever-increasing array of fulfillment options and ways to return what they decide they do not want.


Way back in the 20th century, retailers invented a series of rigid processes to manage their products, inventory, locations, vendors, and prices. Now, process rigidity is the last thing retailers need in the face of these 21stcentury realities. Diane Randolph, former CIO of Ulta Beauty and Reitman’s Canada, explains it this way: “Retailers must rethink their supply chain systems to monitor every step. Otherwise, they lose the ability to respond to the unexpected occurrences which are likely to disrupt the flow of goods from source to consumer.”


“The same is true for the demand chain,” continues Diane. “Retailers must put in place processes for every step in the customer path to purchase. This goes well beyond capture at the point of sale. It demands astute knowledge of consumer behavior as it relates to the retailer’s brand and line.”


At Makira, we do everything possible to encourage our clients to avoid the trap of hard specification. We understand what is going on in our client’s external world. Whenever it is possible to introduce flexibility into a system requirement, we do it. Our passion is leaving our clients with a set of highly configurable systems, fit-for-purpose, for both today and tomorrow. It is a time where adaptability wins, where knowledge must be actionable, and where innovation produces winners.

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