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Justin Aggelakos

  12 Jul 2017 • By Justin Aggelakos in Justenough News

  

JustEnough Issues the Q2 2017 Edition of InDemand

Be sure to check out the Q2 2017 installment of our quarterly newsletter, InDemand. Each quarter, we feature the newest customers to join the JustEnough family, recent go-lives, thought leadership, relevant media coverage and key developments impacting the retail industry. Below is a brief recap of the articles included in this latest issue:

  • Tommy Bahama Goes Live With JustEnough Merchandise Financial Planning
    In May 2017, JustEnough Software announced that Tommy Bahama, an island-inspired lifestyle brand, went live with our industry-leading Merchandise Financial Planning solution, which helps top retailers around the world better set sales, margin and inventory targets and manage their open-to-buy budgets. The JustEnough team worked closely with Tommy Bahama on the solution design and implementation timeline to ensure a smooth, on-time installation with minimal disruption to the business. Read more here.
  • New Customer: Best Buy
    Best Buy offers expert service at an unbeatable price to consumers, small business owners and educators who visit its 1,600 stores throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2016, Best Buy embarked on a project to replace its legacy system with a modern advertising and promotion management solution. Best Buy ultimately selected an enterprise-wide, onsite license of JustEnough Promotion Management for its flexible approach to the advertising and promotion planning process. The JustEnough solution is expected to go live in early 2018.
  • Going Live: Vans and The North Face
    Vans and The North Face, both of which belong to the VF Corporation brand portfolio, selected JustEnough Allocation, Inventory Planning, Replenishment, Demand Forecasting and Profiling solutions in 2016. Recently, Vans and The North Face went live with JustEnough Allocation, which leverages allocation rules to model performance criteria and ultimately determine the best placement of stock. The remaining JustEnough solutions will continue to be deployed at both companies over the next year.
  • Coming Back For More: Ackermans
    Ackermans, a South African-based value retailer, has leveraged the JustEnough Demand Forecasting and Replenishment solutions for more than 10 years to address inventory management needs and reduce stock-outs. Ackermans recently selected JustEnough’s best-in-class Allocation solution to replace a legacy in-house solution; the implementation will begin this summer.
  • JustEnough In The News: RIS News
    In May, RIS News published a byline by JustEnough, which offers six strategies to help retailers improve in-season planning and address exception management variation. Making exception management a critical aspect of their end-to-end planning and execution process gives businesses the ability to understand why an item is selling above or below expectation – and thus avoid the costly pitfalls of having too much or too little stock on hand. Check out the JustEnough byline in RIS News here.
  • Our Solutions
    Want to learn more about JustEnough’s innovative product offering? Check out two new solution brochures, which were featured in this issue of InDemand:
    • OnCloud vs. OnSite:
      At JustEnough, we understand that retailers need simple solutions to help them increase sales and margins and grow customer satisfaction with a seamless shopping experience – all while reducing stock-outs, markdowns and overall inventory costs. We offer both OnCloud and OnSite installations of our solutions. Whichever option you decide is right for your business, the best-in-class functionality and ease of use they offer remains the same. Learn more here.
    • Cloud Computing Capacity:
      Our OnCloud offering leverages the power of compute node scaling, also known as n-tier architecture. In response to rising demand, the JustEnough platform can automatically add nodes to provide more processing power to get work done in as little time as possible. As such, users benefit from exceptional reliability, scalability and performance. In addition, our OnCloud partners now also include Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, in addition to Microsoft and Rackspace Hosting. Read more here.
  • Innovative Thinking: Six Steps to a Seamless Software Implementation
    Smart retailers recognize that implementing new software can supercharge their businesses. But they also dread doing it, knowing that the devil is in the details when it comes to introducing unfamiliar technology to their teams and making it part of their infrastructure. However, a retailer that prepares properly before embarking on it can make sure that the implementation ultimately achieves what it wants. In this newest thought leadership article, JustEnough offers six tips to help companies navigate a smooth software implementation. Learn more here.

Click here to access the Q2 2017 issue of InDemand. Previous editions can be found here. Contact us today to learn more about JustEnough’s integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.


Justin Aggelakos

  21 Jun 2017 • By Justin Aggelakos in Industry News

  

Building an Insights-Driven Enterprise

In May, RIS News and Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) published findings from their joint “Analytics Study 2017,” an annual look at how retailers and consumer goods companies are faring in their effort to build insights-driven organizations. In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the findings from the report, which – unsurprisingly – found that most retailers and CG companies are struggling to improve their analytics in the face of rapid marketplace change. In fact, roughly one-third of retailers and CG companies alike indicate they have only basic analytics in place, and only 26% of retailers and 27% of CG companies say they are doing basic reporting.

While it appears that small to mid-size CG companies are generally further along in analytics, the three overarching obstacles all organizations face are: finding ways to collect better data; cleaning and managing the data; and onboarding the right tools, talent and processes to make better, data-driven decisions. Overcoming these obstacles means addressing the following challenges, according to the report:

  • Hiring the Right Talent:
    Both CG companies and retailers struggle with bringing together the right professionals with skill sets that help them get a handle on their data. There are two parts to the equation, the first being that the companies do not have enough of the right people to analyze the data. The second is that even if all the data is being collected, retailers and CG organizations may not have the right talent in place to translate it into actionable insights. Despite this setback, the study found that onboarding the right people remains a low priority in 2017, with 68% of retailers and 83% of CG companies indicating they have no immediate plans to hire a chief analytics/insights officer to help close the talent gap. Nor are most retailers (57%) and CG companies (62%) planning to hire statisticians anytime soon.
  • Addressing Decentralization:
    Currently, both CG companies and retailers place oversight of analytical resources within the departments that use them instead of viewing them as a shared service. This can result in an increase in shadow spending, with 48% of CG companies and 26% of retailers reporting that they purchased analytics software outside the IT budget in 2016. As such, a centralized analytics approach with unified spending not only ensures all departments are working off the same set of data, it can result in a financial gain for the company.
  • Expanding data sharing capabilities:
    This year’s study shows that both retailers and CG companies both agree that inventory, promotion performance and POS data is the most widely shared, and that weekly or daily sharing is most common. The report suggests that while the sharing of these well-established data types is becoming an industry standard, the focus – and the biggest challenge – for retailers and CG companies is figuring out how to use data to better understand their customers. Despite the widely acknowledged benefits that data sharing can have – from better demand forecasts to lower inventory levels to better on-shelf availability –some retailers are still skeptical about sharing data or prefer to charge their partners a fee for access to it. Fully 70% of retailers do not share online customer behavior data, and just over half do not part with loyalty/CRM, pricing and online sales data.

    There is hope for CG companies, however: a McKinsey survey mentioned in the RIS News and CGT report found that CG leaders in their categories are far more likely to receive full-basket and shopper-panel data from their retail partners – and some even receive loyalty-card and coupon-redemption information. This speaks volumes about the power that digitally empowered consumers wield when it comes to disrupting traditional approaches to managing the supply chain. Although retailers and CG companies are undoubtedly working hard to keep up with a moving target, they are continuously challenged to adapt to new demands.

In my next blog post, we’ll further explore how far retailers, in particular, have come over the last year in overhauling their analytics approach. Spoiler alert: they’ve made progress across the board, especially in terms of data management, data quality and analytics tools. In the meantime, check out the full RIS News and CGT study here. Contact us today to learn how our data-driven, fully integrated suite of planning solutions supports many of the world’s foremost retailers.


Justin Aggelakos

  05 May 2017 • By Justin Aggelakos in Justenough News

  

Tommy Bahama Goes Live with Our Merchandise Financial Planning Solution

This week, we announced via press release that retail powerhouse Tommy Bahama has gone live with our Merchandise Financial Planning solution in a JustEnough-led implementation. The solution allows top retailers around the world better set sales, margin and inventory targets, as well as manage their open-to-buy budgets.

Tommy Bahama is well-known for being an island-inspired lifestyle brand, which has evolved from a wholesale-only operation to an organization comprising just under 170 domestic and international retail stores, restaurants and a robust e-commerce site. But the demands of a multi-channel retail organization led Tommy Bahama to the conclusion that it needed to replace outdated systems with proven technology.

The organization turned to JustEnough to help it resolve this issue. Ultimately, Tommy Bahama selected our fully integrated Merchandise Financial Planning, Allocation and Assortment Planning solutions on a cloud-based model to help it better manage by exception, move inventory throughout the supply chain, and deliver planning and process consistency across multiple channels.

Tommy Bahama elected to partner with the JustEnough implementation team on a phased installation, starting with Merchandise Financial Planning. We worked closely with Tommy Bahama’s planners to develop a solution design. After a smooth, on-time installation with minimal disruption to the business, Tommy Bahama went live with the solution in early spring.

You can read more about Tommy Bahama’s Merchandise Financial Planning go-live here. Contact us today to learn how our best-in-class suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s foremost retailers.


Justin Aggelakos

  12 Apr 2017 • By Justin Aggelakos in Industry News

  

JustEnough Issues the Q1 2017 Edition of InDemand

Last week, we issued the Q1 2017 installment of our quarterly newsletter, InDemand, which highlights new thought leadership, articles about customer successes and key developments impacting the retail industry. In case you missed it, below is a brief recap of what was included in this latest issue:

  • New Thought Leadership: How to Improve In-Season Planning
    Despite efforts by retailers to build and execute bulletproof pre-season merchandise plans, the market is variable and customers are fickle. In a new JustEnough byline, we discuss how exception management, supported by a variety of business intelligence tools and reporting mechanisms, can help organizations better navigate and react to variances in the plan. Read more here.
  • New Customer: Cole Haan
    Cole Haan has 120 stores in the U.S. and another 80 in Japan that are serviced by a newly established global Planning & Allocation department. Cole Haan sought more modern solutions to support its planning team and take the place of a failed planning system that forced the company to revert back to the use Excel. Cole Haan selected JustEnough Allocation and Merchandise Financial Planning for their ease of use and advanced functionality. Solution design is currently underway for Allocation, which expected to go live before the 2017 holiday season. The Merchandise Financial Planning deployment is slated for late 2017. Capgemini, a JustEnough partner, will perform the implementations.
  • Implementation Success: Tommy Bahama
    Tommy Bahama selected JustEnough Merchandise Financial Planning, Allocation and Assortment Planning for their ability to manage by exception, leverage inventory throughout the supply chain, as well as deliver planning and process consistency across all product divisions and channels. Tommy Bahama embarked on a phased solution rollout with JustEnough, beginning with Merchandise Financial Planning on a cloud-based model. The JustEnough team worked closely with the retailer on solution design and an implementation timeline. After a smooth, non-disruptive and on-time installation, Tommy Bahama went live with the solution in early March 2017.
  • JustEnough In The News: The Record
    The winter 2016 issue of The Record, the best of enterprise technology on the Microsoft platform, featured a JustEnough byline on creating customer-centric assortments, as well as a sidebar highlighting the success outdoor retailer Katmandu has realized using JustEnough technology to support its 160 brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce business. Access the winter 2016 issue of The Record here.
  • Research Reports
    InDemand featured two new JustEnough-sponsored research report, including RIS News’ “Retail IQ: Driving Revenue and Increased Engagement With Advanced Promotions Management” report, which featured a Q&A with JustEnough’s Dan Pahomi on page 6; and Boston Retail Partners’ “2016 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey,” an annual survey that explores the current state of retail planning. View these reports, as well as access other JustEnough-sponsored research, here.
  • Industry Recognition: Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s 2017 Pros to Know
    Keith Whaley, JustEnough’s Vice President of Retail Strategy, was named in Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s prestigious 2017 Provider Pros to Know list. Keith was selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants for his expertise in supporting omni-channel inventory planning and management across multi-tiered supply chains at some of the world’s biggest brands that leverage JustEnough. Read the press release here, and be sure to check out Keith’s blog post.

Click here to access the Q1 2017 issue of InDemand. Previous editions can be found here. Contact us today to learn more about JustEnough’s integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.


Justin Aggelakos

  23 Mar 2017 • By Justin Aggelakos in Industry News

  

The Push for Unified Commerce: New Study

Unified commerce is a concept on the mind of most of today’s retail executives. It’s a step beyond omni-channel, endeavoring to serve consumers when, where and however they prefer to make a purchase by taking systems once siloed based on different channels and merging them onto a single data set.

According to a recent IHL study published in RIS News, 86% of software spending in retail organizations is going toward the five pillars of unified commerce: store systems, merchandising/supply chain, business intelligence/analytics, sales and marketing, and e-commerce systems. Advanced organizations understand these functions must be aligned to compete in today’s dynamic and swiftly changing retail environment.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper into the findings of the 2017 Unified Commerce Landscape report, which correlated sales growth against 15 various commerce strategies being used by more than 90 retailers across the U.S. and U.K. When asked about their priorities, the research found that retailers of all levels of success are focusing on three key areas in 2017: improving customer loyalty, creating a seamless shopping experience and creating a “wow” experience at the store.

The key difference between retailers that demonstrated strong sales growth and those that didn’t is the balance between those three above-mentioned priorities. Retail “winners,” as the report describes them, are thinking about these areas simultaneously and in a more balanced way. IT spend is another indication – retailers that are willing to make investments in systems to improve the overall customer experience tend to be those that are on the more successful end of the spectrum. Among general merchandise retailers, there is another area of consideration this year: providing actionable analytics to store associates to help them make better decisions at the point of customer interaction.

If we look closer at the impact IT spend has on sales growth, the report indicated that retail winners across all segments spent nearly 70% more on IT as a percentage of revenue in 2016 compared to their less-successful counterparts. IHL also pointed to differences when it comes to planning for budget growth: retail winners across all segments are increasing their total IT spend at a rate of 87% faster than the laggards. Among food, drug, convenience and mass merchant retailers, that figure jumps to a whopping 107%. Finally, retail winners across all segments are hiking up their store-level IT spend at a rate of 133% faster than the laggards.

Next time, we’ll explore the systems that constitute the building blocks of unified commerce. In the meantime, read the full report here, and contact JustEnough today to learn more about our integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.


Nick Bourland

  15 Mar 2017 • By Nick Bourland in Opinions

  

Improving In-Season Planning

Consumers are more empowered than ever to find exactly what they want, when they want it – all of which can wreak havoc on the bottom line if an organization isn’t prepared to make in-season planning adjustments.

Exception management, supported by a variety of business intelligence tools and reporting mechanisms, allows retailers to better navigate and react to variances in the plan. It is becoming highly sophisticated as businesses gain greater access to modern planning technologies and ever-more granular information about their customers’ lifestyles, buying behaviors and product preferences at the location level.

In a recent article, I discussed six strategies to help retailers better manage variances in their plan throughout a season and therefore avoid the costly pitfalls of having too much or too little stock on hand. Below is a summary of these six points:

  1. Holding inventory back. Retailers can circumvent variances in the plan by holding back a percentage of inventory in the DC from the start, while pushing the rest out to their stores and online channels.
  2. Prepacking. Store-level forecasts have an important role to play when optimizing prepack purchases. Of equal importance is determining the correct balance of prepacked and “loose” units in each planned receipt – the right combination offers greater flexibility when filling in missing sizes, colors, etc. as needed.
  3. Regular replenishment maintenance. Regular review of stock position for top-selling items throughout the season is crucial. In scenarios where stock outages are likely – or even unavoidable – retailers can strategically limit replenishment to protect stores with the greatest selling potential.
  4. Store-to-store transfers. Store-to-store transfers can be a very effective means of rebalancing inventory to meet shifting trends for items with sufficient profit margin. The key to this approach is weighing the proximity of stores with need against additional freight costs.
  5. Expanding product footprint. If slow-selling inventory, retailers may consider expanding the item’s footprint into locations that initially seemed to have less selling potential. Effectively doing so requires a thorough review of sales data, as well as customer insights, social media feeds and feedback from store managers to determine where inventory is most likely to drive up sales and profits.
  6. Vendor push/pull tactics. Businesses that realize a particular item is not selling fast enough and will result in markdowns at the end of the season may be able to partner with vendors to hold or even cancel subsequent deliveries at their facilities versus shipping as originally planned. Conversely, if demand for a particular item is higher than anticipated, retailers that identify this issue early on may want to consider changing the method of delivery or requesting an earlier ship date.

Technology is the underpinning to an advanced workflow that alerts retailers as soon as possible to exceptions in their merchandise plan. Read the full article here, and find out how JustEnough’s demand-driven suite of solutions offer the flexibility required to make in-season planning adjustments.


Keith Whaley

  08 Mar 2017 • By Keith Whaley in Justenough News

  

Solving Retail’s Biggest Challenges: S&DCE Recognizes JustEnough in Its 2017 Provider Pros to Know List

Earlier this week, I was honored to be named to Supply & Demand Chain Executives’ 2017 Provider Pros to Know list. This annual awards program recognizes individuals from software firms and providers, consultancies or academia who have helped their supply chain clients or the supply chain community at large overcome significant business challenges.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive asked each nominee about the key challenges facing their customers and their supply chains in the year ahead – and how we are working to address them. In this week’s blog post, I thought I would share my response to this question by exploring several pain points many retailers are facing:

  • The ability to capture accurate POS data by channel. Retailers now offer their customers many POS options. It’s critical they capture accurate information regarding where sales are made and where demand is fulfilled in order to optimally position inventory in the future.
  • Gaining real-time inventory visibility from the purchase order to the DC to each individual selling channel. Moving from channel-specific inventory to shared inventory across channels enables retailers to react to variability in regards to where demand is coming from. However, it requires complete visibility into inventory at every level of the supply chain in order to efficiently fulfill demand.
  • Adapting to a shift in modeling. Traditionally, modelling has focused on structured product and location hierarchies. But, it’s beginning to shift toward a focus on customer-preferences and product attributes. This calls for the capture of very granular, non-hierarchical data points – which must be available to the merchandise planning team in a way that is consumable.
  • Creating a flexible supply chain configuration. Supply chains typically have been linear and fairly straightforward to set up. Nowadays, they must be nimble and provide a way for inventory to move forward, backward and sideways to be properly positioned. Configuring modern supply chains requires the use of complex rules that enable inventory to flow faster through them. Retailers can no longer wait for inventory to arrive at their DCs before being dispersed to stores – they need the ability to pre-allocate inventory from the point of purchase orders in order to reduce lead time. Cross-docking and pre-packs are additional techniques that retailers can use to facilitate supply chain time compression.
  • Better anticipating demand. Today’s retailers must do more than simply monitoring demand and buying and pushing out inventory. Competing in today’s dynamic business environment requires insight into near-future demand, which drives multi-channel inventory execution to meet planned demand. Consuming information regarding customer shopping preference and buying behavior helps to better anticipate demand and supports the ability to project the movement of inventory to the appropriate channels.

To address these challenges, the JustEnough team and I work directly with our retail customers to understand how to best implement our fully integrated, end-to-end suite of omni-channel demand management solutions, as well as integrate with their existing systems. Our solutions are designed to make it easier for users to position their systems and processes to handle a flexible supply chain configuration.

Read our press release here, as well as the full list of Supply & Demand Chain Executive 2017 Provider Pros to Know here. Contact us today to learn how some of the world’s leading brands leverage JustEnough to streamline their business processes, make better decisions and achieve results that have a positive impact on the bottom line.


Dan Pahomi

  22 Feb 2017 • By Dan Pahomi in Industry News

  

Advanced Promotions Management for Modern Retailers: New Report

Retailers are using promotions in increasingly creative ways to drive purchases and encourage repeat traffic without eroding profits and margins. In a recent JustEnough-sponsored report by RIS News called Retail IQ: Driving Revenue and Increased Engagement With Advanced Promotions Management, findings show that retailers must consider the price, timing, consumer target, merchandising strategy and store location when staging promotions. Technology can help: promotions management software and analytics tools provide better insights by cross-referencing historic, demographic and other data across multiple sources.

The report acknowledges that retailers are taking advantage of wider availability of better, more accurate and affordable data. Nowadays, retailers of any size can gather a lot of information about their customers online with very little effort. Such data can be fed into modern optimization tools, which project how much lift a promotion will provide to entice shoppers without destroying margins.

I answered a couple of questions for this RIS News report regarding centralized promotions management. Traditionally, promotions were planned by different teams depending on the channel, which could result in conflicting messages for the consumer and subpar campaign outcomes. Retailers are realizing the need to centralize these activities across channels, geographies and internal departments. That’s where a centralized promotion planning and execution system supported by a dedicated, best-in-class solution comes into play. Although many retailers want to adopt a centralized promotions management approach, they are attempting to do so using Excel, merchandising, pricing and ERP systems – which often lack in sophistication and the ability to capture the level of detail needed to optimize promotions.

Additionally, a better promotions management process is required; automation alone will only allow retailers to be inefficient faster. What’s needed is a process that allows retailers to get to market faster and eliminates any barriers along the way. Once that happens, retailers can start generating more targeted and relevant promotions that result in more accurate data to analyze, which can be difficult to do when data is gathered from disparate sources.

I also talked a bit about how some retailers are eliminating loyalty card programs in favor of other tools for customer data collection. This is because as loyalty programs expanded, their use has become limited and they no longer are a point of competitive differentiation for retailers. Beyond such programs, there are multiple ways of collecting customer data. In fact, most retailers leverage more than one method, which include virtual loyalty cards using credit card data, email sign ups, mobile app downloads and social media.

Finally, I answered a question about using Facebook for promotions. While the prospect of targeting promotions down to the individual customer level via Facebook was initially met with a lot of excitement, it proved to be too much work without much ROI. The social media platform is an excellent way to engage a large audience and drive brand awareness, but it falls short when it comes to individual promotional campaigns.

To read the full report, click here. Contact us today to learn how the JustEnough Promotions Management solution makes it easy to plan multi-channel promotions that drive sales and improve margins.


Peter Leith

  08 Feb 2017 • By Peter Leith in Industry News

  

The Future of Omni-Channel Inventory Planning for Retailers: New Survey

What does the future hold for retailers looking to improve omni-channel inventory planning? In this final installment of a series of blog posts that highlighted findings from the JustEnough-sponsored 2016 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey, we’ll dive into the three key areas retailers are turning their attention to: store clustering, dynamic re-allocation and customer-optimized inventory. Before doing so, we should state that retailers in today’s push for a “channel-less” world are seeking ways to better integrate data into their merchandise-planning processes, data analytics increasingly challenging as the number of sources of customer information grows.

  • Store Clustering:Understanding and managing demand is no easy feat when the customer journey crosses channels. However, retailers can improve forecast accuracy and assortments by leveraging tools that help identify patterns and cluster stores based on key attributes like geography, climate and size demographics. According to the survey, only 24% of retailers are doing this today, but that figure will jump to 74% over the next five years.
  • Dynamic Re-Allocation:Although an integrated cross-channel merchandise-planning process lowers the effects of misallocating product, moving inventory across channels or between stores is still a costly endeavor. But a modern dynamic re-allocation approach involves enterprise-wide visibility and accessibility, which provide retailers with the information they need to re-allocate inventory where it is most likely to sell. Although only 15% of retailers are applying such re-allocation techniques, 66% plan to do so within five years.
  • Customer-Optimized Inventory:A combination of customer demand and forecast data, CRM and transaction history can help retailers anticipate where customers will most likely purchase inventory. Integrating customers’ history into the planning process helps retailers satisfy shopper needs while forming a deeper relationship with them. The survey tells us that only 9% of retailers are currently practicing customer-optimized inventory strategies; however, 75% of retailers plan to do so over the next five years.

One area that is still under evaluation when it comes to unified commerce environment is social media-based planning. While social platforms are undeniably excellent listening tools, there is still some uncertainly as to how it fits into a retailer’s business model. One significant challenge is how to effectively quantify social media data to inform product decisions – i.e., how does a “like” or comment translate into anticipated sales? The survey indicates that only 6% of retailers today are leveraging social media in the planning process, and roughly half are looking to leverage it within the next five years.

In conclusion, the 2016 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey shows that most retailers are still struggling to optimize their omni-channel planning strategies. Be sure to check out the full report here, and contact JustEnough today to learn how we our end-to-end suite of omni-channel demand management solutions support some of today’s most premier retailers.


Peter Leith

  01 Feb 2017 • By Peter Leith in Industry News

  

The Alignment of People, Processes and Technology Stands in the Way of Strategic Omni-Channel Inventory Planning: New Survey

Creating an omni-channel inventory strategy gives retailers an opportunity to tear down organizational silos and leverage synergies across the business. In my last post, we looked at ways retailers can overcome obstacles standing in the way of optimized merchandise-planning effectiveness, which comes down to two key challenges according to the JustEnough-sponsored 2016 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey: the need for advanced analytics and reducing technology constraints.

Today, we’ll take a closer look integration issues standing in the way of retailers that want to adopt an omni-channel inventory strategy approach. With technology now doing much of the heavy lifting in many capacities, retailers may need to eliminate redundant roles and functions by consolidating disparate groups into a single unified team. Specifically, the integration of planning systems across channels gives planners better visibility and insights that can translate into better recommendations with respect to price, promotion and inventory. But according to the survey, many organizations struggle from a cultural standpoint: it can be difficult to get internal stakeholders to consider the enterprise as a whole, versus the needs of individual teams or departments. In fact, most retailers that have taken steps to integrate their planning processes, organizations and systems indicate there is room for improvement.

While more retailers have implemented these initiatives compared to last year, the areas that need improvement have increased at a higher rate – i.e., better cross-channel integration of assortment plans and merchandise financial plans. This is likely because many businesses simply take a “just get something done” approach instead of considering the impact on the culture and all of the processes that need to evolve.

Part of breaking down planning silos includes disrupting the traditional alignment of planning teams. Historically, such teams have aligned around product categories by channel. However, this does not work with the omni-channel model of retail in which sales are planned across the enterprise. In order to achieve the synergies of omni-channel retail, planning teams must be re-aligned and in some cases consolidated to create a more proactive and nimble organization.

Next week, we’ll talk more about what the future holds for retailers that are focused on improving omni-channel planning. The Boston Retail Partners survey can be found here. Contact JustEnough today to learn more about our end-to-end suite of omni-channel demand management solutions.

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