Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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September 2016 | | 157 retail store-level fulfillment process to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction." Services such as cycle counting, category audits and DSD audits can ensure the highest fill rates for customer orders, Day says. "Validated and accurate supply chain inventory data is the No. 1 requirement for driving improved results across the supply chain process," he stresses. "We can help organizations validate key inven- tory data points at thousands of locations in a finite period of time — from one week to one day. In fact, RGIS performs a category audit once a month at more than 2,000 stores for one of our key grocery customers — all on the same day." Supply chain management systems are designed to improve sales and customer experience, Day observes, but require continuous validation that lo- cation and inventory dates are accurate within those management systems. Advance Planning "Retailers need to adopt systems and procedures to track inventory levels for each store at a more real-time pace so replenishment and product flow decisions can be made on a timely basis to support dynamic demands," says Roger Falkenstein, territory manager at Minneapolis-based HighJump Software. Planning and forecasting systems should be deployed to better predict product demand based on dynamic variables, Falkenstein asserts, noting that HighJump is deploying WMS (warehouse management systems) tailored for retail stores to manage store inventory and goods movement in real time, from store receipt to back office to store shelf and, finally, to the customer. "Our in-store WMS solutions are configured to adapt to the unique environment of picking online orders in retail stores," he explains. "We are leveraging this technology to ensure accuracy and drive labor efficiency. In addition, the systems are designed to enhance the store associate and customer experience with real-time information and even item substitutions." WMS will continue to be a critical piece of man- aging the execution of goods movement, Falken- stein says. Amid the rapidly changing landscape of customer demands, compliance concerns and the impact of omnichannel, WMS solutions will need to be agile and adaptable to meet those challenges in a cost-effective and timely manner. Overcoming Challenges What's the No. 1 thing retailers can do to improve their supply chain? According to Dan Grimm, VP of solutions strategy at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based JDA Software, it's to create an environment where supply chain planning and execution are able to operate in a truly collaborative manner. When planning groups are able to share real- world, granular information with the execution part of the business, Grimm says, retailers are better able to plan labor needs based on promo- tions, seasonality, new products, and more. In turn, the warehouse is able to take storage and labor constraints into account and develop more successful real-world plans. "JDA Software has led this effort by creating the Intelligent Fulfillment suite, which includes best-of-breed supply chain planning and execution products," notes Grimm. "ese integrated products have specific capabilities to utilize data to optimize the supply chain." Among the challenges that Grimm sees retailers facing in relation to the online market is the in- creased competition that puts additional pressure on the retail supply chain to continue to strive for more cost reductions to keep pace with rivals. "To assist retailers with this issue," he says, "JDA has developed intelligent labor management applications, which maximize worker productivity through established work standards, while also pro- viding more accurate inputs into the task manage- ment engine for increased optimization of the tasks to be completed." Grimm notes that order profiles are shrinking and, as a result, warehouses are being asked to fulfill orders that require more effort than in the past. Instead of case picking, orders are now requiring individual piece picking to be filled. at being the case, JDA is continuously working to improve labor optimization and task management to more efficiently complete the work at hand. "Finally," he says, "as the result of reduced order- cycle times demanded by customer expectations, warehouses have to become nimbler and rely more on automation. JDA has worked with automation vendors to develop standard integration touch points for an integrated solution at a lower cost to our customers." Grimm adds that there are several other areas that JDA is working on that will help with the real-world problems of retailers, citing as an example that the dramatic increase of Millennials in the workforce has created demand for more intuitive software. "eir expectations of app-style software will put pressure on companies to stay current and update their previous software solutions," he observes. "In response to this trend, JDA has redesigned its solu- tions to provide the most user-friendly UI [user inter- face] available for warehouse management solutions." Companies that sell food will also be under increased pressure to meet government regulations for product track and trace, Grimm notes. What's evident is that in the ever-changing world of food retailing, the warehouse management link in the supply chain is keeping pace, and will continue to do so. PG Retailers need to adopt systems and procedures to track inventory levels for each store at a more real- time pace so replenishment and product flow decisions can be made on a timely basis to support dynamic demands." —Roger Falkenstein, HighJump Software

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