Multichannel has changed the retail supply chain. The customer experience, customer engagement and fulfillment have all become multi-faceted, complex and unpredictable. But retailers also have more data available to leverage. Whether in-store or online, digital commerce is providing a wealth of consumer data not traditionally available. Retailers need to leverage this data to cut through the noise to get to the demand signal to improve or even transform their business model.
Multichannel has forced retailers to revisit how they forecast demand and position inventory. It means no longer planning in silos, but across channels. Promotion forecasting, new product forecasting and demand planning all need a fresh approach. And “long tail” demand and inventory planning are important, even when the problem is disguised as an assortment or merchandising problem.
As fulfillment options – shop on line/pick up in store, shop on line/ship from store, etc. – continue to grow, the increase in cost-to-serve is starting to impact the bottom line. More efficient and accurate planning is required.
This includes deciding where to place inventory in the network to satisfy demand – including inventory postponement rather than pushing it all out at once. Where does product need to be to satisfy customers?
With the right tools, retailers can generate a unified demand signal, making the supply chain responsive to volatile demand, even in multichannel networks. They can achieve greater supply chain visibility, significantly increase shelf-fill rates, reduce lost sales at point of sale, and reduce global inventory.
Amplifon is a top hearing solutions retailer in the US, EMEA and APAC with more than 2000 retail outlets, plus several thousand more ‘shop-in-shops’, franchises and affiliates. Despite its highly complex extended supply chain, Amplifon needed the right products available to consumers who have high expectations about addressing hearing loss.
Amplifon implemented ToolsGroup software to manage demand planning and replenishment. The goal was to provide the highest level of service at the point of sale (POS) while reducing the burden of inventory management and logistics. The retailer now has end-to-end control of the supply chain and complete visibility of all operations.
ToolsGroup software senses data at every stage of distribution, including at the point of sale and by channel, enabling Amplifon’s planners to identify demand trends, trigger alarm signals, and improve responsiveness between planned and actual supply chain events. Machine learning leverages CRM and historic sales data in order to improve forecast precision at the store level.
The highly automated system has relieved store managers of many hours of manual effort. Detailed demand forecasts are generated for sales and marketing teams and for determining optimal inventory levels. Amplifon is now able to determine the right mix of products in stock and high rotation products for each point of sale. Each item is automatically replenished according to each retailers’ specific requirements, pace and sales strategy.