Supply chain efficiency is key to retail business

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Supply chain efficiency needs to be at the core of a retail business so that companies can keep their prices low and maintain their competitive edge, according to Ian Stansfield, distribution director at Asda.

He told delegates to the Humber International Logistics Convention that this was an interesting moment in time for the retail sector as customers become loyal to their pockets as well as their brands.

And Duncan Kendal, head of supply operations at Argos, pointed out that shoppers now insist on value for time as well as value for money. First class supplier collaboration was required in order to keep customer promise and respond to demand, he said.

The convention on 6th June also looked at shelf availability in the retail  sector with Professor David Grant, from the Logistics Institute at Hull University Business School, and Professor John Fernie, of Heriot-Watt University, discussing the findings from their research into the issue.  

Fernie highlighted the nature of supply issues in non-grocery sectors with a range of case studies including clothing, books and mobile retailers.  He highlighted the specific problems fashion retailers face such as ‘reverse logistics’ due to the high volume of returned items.  He advised non-grocery retailers to manage and motivate their shop-floor staff as much as possible to ensure product availability is optimised.

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