There is a pressing need for modern-day supply chains to adopt a digital technology base, says Pantoja-Navajas. Such systems provide a perpetual inventory signal from retail stores to the end customer. They give retailers, wholesalers and consumer product goods companies the ability to manage inventory on a near-real-time basis. They can receive signals from stores and feed the data into warehouses and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
For many years, Pantoja-Navajas says, there has been a gap between ERP applications and retailers’ fulfillment arms. “Let’s make sure that we feed systems upstream with the right data to allocate product and move inventory through the chain without additional layers,” he says. The developing capability is in response to demands by consumers for more information about the arrival times of their orders.
Lack of the right technology has prevented most companies from achieving this goal up to now. Today, Pantoja-Navajas says, they are required to work in cloud-based, multichannel environments. They should be able to link point-of-sale systems to store networks and backrooms, and extend that connectivity back to the warehouse and ERP system.
“It’s about the network,” Pantoja-Navajas says. “Digital networks are needed to move data.”
Previously, he says, companies were hindered by functional silos, which made it difficult to transmit data across the organization in a seamless and timely fashion. “We’re trying now to break those silos,” he says, “ to have a holistic view of inventory so that we can make the right decisions.”
Companies need a “core view” of inventory in order to roll out omnichannel fulfillment strategies, Pantoja-Navajas says.
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