When the pandemic hit and altered the supply chain and consumer behaviors almost immediately, the retail industry had to adapt quickly. Disruptions such as materials shortages, port bottlenecks, labor crises, and more, continue to cause significant challenges for global retailers. To combat some of these interruptions, many retailers have changed their processes and employed new best practices to adapt to the shifting environment. Ways in which businesses are coping with retailer supply chain disruptions include enhancing their use of technology, implementing omnichannel fulfillment strategies, identifying secondary and tertiary suppliers for products, and outsourcing to third-party companies to create an integrated supply chain. These solutions have helped retailers alter their processes quickly and effectively, to help them manage and remain competitive in the changing markets.
Supply Chain Technology
As e-commerce continues to grow, the use of technology has become more prominent in the retail space to help meet growing demand and counteract disruptions. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division, e-commerce sales totaled $870 billion in the U.S. in 2021, representing a 14.2 percent increase over 2020, and a 50.5 percent increase over 2019.
As the sector continues to grow, significant investments in automation and technology will be necessary to address workforce shortages, manage systems, and successfully meet consumer demand. The use of technology, such as enhanced warehouse management systems and warehouse drones, can help retailers gain enhanced visibility into their inventory trends and move products throughout their supply chain quickly and economically.
Omnichannel fulfillment allows retailers to survey their networks and locate products at partner channels that can fill orders the most quickly. With the growth of e-commerce and the increase in online shopping, customer expectations for a speedy delivery process have grown. However, recent supply chain disruptions have made quick deliveries a challenge for many. Low inventories, product stockouts, and other interruptions have tacked on days, and sometimes weeks, onto online order fulfillment times. Incorporating omnichannel fulfillment strategies can help retailers enhance the customer experience and get products into consumers’ hands quickly.
Integrated Supply Chains
To best manage their supply chains, manufacturers that provide products to retailers often recruit the help of expert third-party partners. As an example, a manufacturer may partner with a plastic pallet pooler to manage their shipping pallet fleet and streamline their shipping processes. This keeps the manufacturer from having to manage, store, and ship their own pallet fleet and can reduce the costs and difficulty of pallet procurement. This also benefits the retailers themselves, because plastic pallets are lighter, safer for products and workers, and do not shed splinters and nails that require time-consuming cleanup.
iGPS plastic pallets incorporate smart features that make them traceable throughout a supply chain. These features allow companies to capture data at any point of distribution, ensuring better planning and efficiency, and helping to lower a company’s Total Cost of Business (TCOB). Additionally, iGPS plastic pallets generally last four times longer than wood-block pallets and are 100% recyclable.
As retailers continue to navigate supply chain disruptions, they are finding more ways to adapt to the changing markets. Maintaining flexibility and a willingness to incorporate new processes is imperative for every retailer’s long-term success.
Retailers striving to combat supply chain disruptions utilize iGPS plastic pallets for all their shipping needs. Our lightweight, recyclable plastic pallets help speed products through supply chains and reduce the Total Cost of Business. For more information, contact us at 1-866-557-0047, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.