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Simply put, supply chain management is one of the key drivers responsible for retailers surviving one of the worst recessions in history. That's the conclusion of a study that brought together the leading retailers from North America to examine the year's current trends, leading practices and the foremost issues affecting the strategy and planning of retail supply chains. This year's study, released by Auburn University in partnership with Retail Industry Leaders Association, took a closer look into the results of 2009 and captured new insights from SCM executives in 2010.
"Supply chain management has played, and continues to play, a strategic role in retail organizations throughout the recession and remains a key driver of business success and competitive advantage in today's challenging market," according to Dave Reiff, senior vice president of national distribution for Wal-Mart Stores.
"Thanks to cost reduction initiatives introduced by supply chain management executives, retailers were able to tap into existing opportunities to streamline their supply chains, lowering their bottom line costs and saving billions across the industry," said Casey Chroust, RILA executive vice president of retail operations. "Moving forward these cost structure enhancements and efficiencies will enable retailers to thrive as the economy becomes healthy again."
"Retail supply chain management involves much more than DC to store inventory movement," said Brian J. Gibson, professor at Auburn University. "Retailers must establish best-in-class supply chain capabilities to remain competitive. This year, leading edge supply chain executives are pursuing agility, shelf-driven supply chain capabilities, and private label manufacturing."
The study revealed that efforts to reduce the bottom line costs while the recession held top line growth in check has also led to a growing importance of SCM throughout the retail organization and has gained C-suite recognition. CEOs understand SCM as critical to retailer success. The influence of SCM continues to expand up and downstream within the organization, to merchandising and store operations functions.
Looking ahead, the study also cited several key issues that should be on the radar of SCM executives moving forward, including sustainability, fluctuating fuel costs, new government regulations, streamlining multi-channel supply chain operations and utilizing the latest technological advancements.
The detailed results of the study will also be addressed at the 2011 RILA Logistics Conference, February 20-23, 2011, in Orlando. The conference brings together the retail industry's top logistics and supply chain executives for three days of collaborative dialogue and educational content.
Source: Retail Industry Leaders Association
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