Although retail and brands acknowledge the need for faster sourcing, many of the ways they currently do business are outdated. Think handwritten notes and Excel spreadsheets as their go-to tools for retail sourcing processes, according to a recent research report from Bamboo Rose.
Researchers at the firm found that survey respondents “are currently relying on outdated tools and processes such as spreadsheets and manual processes (like e-mail and .JPGs) to manage complicated retail sourcing operations.” Of those polled, more than 60 percent said they use applications such as Excel and Outlook “as their go-to sourcing program” while 50 percent of them said they relied on images or handwritten notes.
The survey also found that about “one-fifth aren’t using any tools at all,” authors of the report said, adding that communication is also problematic. “Only nine percent of retail professionals share information with their suppliers daily,” Bamboo Rose said. “Just 28 percent of respondents look to designers for their new ideas, and just over half tap their supplier community.”
The survey also revealed that 88 percent of respondents “rely on social media, Internet and magazines — rather than their sourcing and supply chain partners — for their daily inspiration.”
With product life-cycle management, respondents told the researcher that they “need faster [supplier] on-boarding time to minimize lost sales opportunities” and that they “want faster turnaround time from product to shelf.” Also needed were “shorter time between picking products and receiving new products.”
They also noted a growing number of suppliers being used, which further complicates supply chain processes. The survey found that 93 percent of respondents said “they work with ten new suppliers each year.”
“When you consider the number of departments these organizations have, they can work with up to 500 new vendors a year,” authors of the report said adding that retailers know what it takes to onboard a new supplier: “The vetting, the bid process, selection and setup all take time. Meanwhile, these processes take you away from your real objective: Running a competitive company.”
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