Economic weakness and low consumer confidence, combined with vendor capacity/reliability, are the top threats to business success this peak season, according to a recent Peak Season Trends and Strategies Survey Report by Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium.
"What we found was not surprising, but very real, based on expectations for the upcoming holiday season," says Chris Ferrell, director of the consortium and author of the report. "Although there are no clear forecasts for the season, companies are doing what they can to brace themselves. They need to see a profit, as well as make sure their customers are satisfied."
The top five threats ranked by survey respondents are:
1. Economic weakness/low consumer confidence
2. Vendor capacity/reliability
3. Forecast accuracy
4. Inventory levels
5. New products/markets/channels
The consortium conducted the Peak Season Survey with its members online as well as during the Supply Chain Leadership Forum held recently in Florida. Forum attendees were the first to see the results as they took the survey in real time. Nearly 80 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors participated overall.
Additional survey results include:
• Growth in China and Southeast Asia remains strong and continues to flourish.
• Major shifts in near-shoring for procurement sourcing or supplier diversification from China back to the U.S. are not yet occurring.
• Companies are emphasizing fewer SKUs and a focused "ABC strategy" to counterbalance out-of-stocks and end-of-season discounts.
• Improved supply chain integration and personnel experience will lead companies through the holiday peak season.
• Nearly 60% of companies began their inventory build for the 2011 holiday season prior to Labor Day.
• Nearly two-thirds of respondents list the economy as the single biggest threat to seasonal profitability.
Click here to download the report.
The consortium also has a LinkedIn group and Xing group for organizations that are interested in staying current on the latest in supply chain benchmarking and best practices.
Source: Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium
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