Most brands recognize the importance of data management and analysis — after all, insights into buying patterns, customer demands and adapting to what those numbers are telling you are crucial to continued success. Data at both sides of the production cycle are equally as important in mitigating wasted effort and optimizing supply chain efficiency.
Companies who properly manage and use their data during design production are getting to market faster, seeing greater return on investment, reducing design cycles/iterations and cutting material costs and waste along the way.
The most recent 2019 State of Retail Supply Chain Report delivered by McKinsey identified several expected long-term trends in the space, many of which can be achieved through technological adoption. McKinsey surveyed today’s top retail brands on what trends they are focusing on in the coming years:
• Improved consolidation across the supply chain (from production to end consumer); 55.9 percent
• Increased home delivery; 44.9 percent
• A higher level of automation; 44.8 percent
• Shorter shelf lives; 13.8 percent
Developing a bullet-proof technology ecosystem to manage all data involved within the production cycle is a sure-fire way of increasing speed to market. Finding a technology partner to manage your data is a massive endeavor. It’s a partnership that will either empower your success or hinder your growth. When making this important decision, I urge you to consider a few important points:
1. Review your potential partner’s current product offering, but look even more closely at their product roadmap. What they have right now may be what you need, but you also need to think about the future and scalability. Investigate what they’re building. How are they thinking about the future of the industry they’re supporting? Are they a market leader or an industry disruptor? If not, they’re not the right partner.
2. Make sure that their offerings are easily integrated into your technologies by way of a modern API. You’re looking for the perfect fit, not something you need to cobble together. If it doesn’t play well with other modern apps, it’s not the right tool.
3. Confirm that their onboarding and implementation period is no longer than 120 days. Modern industries move fast and your technology should match that pace. Look for 60 to 90-day rollouts where users can start seeing an almost immediate ROI. If they can’t promise a quick start, continue evaluating partners.
Today’s integrated tech stack creates a highly comprehensive, data-driven and transparent supply chain resulting in increased speed to market. While gathering data is relatively easy for digitally savvy businesses, creating insights that can turn into actionable strategies for success is where I see brands stumble.
Create a bullet-proof tech ecosystem that gives you the visibility and speed needed to get ahead of your competition, and get back to delivering on your customer demand.
Matthew Klein is the chief executive officer of Backbone.