Why a solid logistic supply chain is the backbone of any successful retail business

Succeeding in retail these days is tougher than ever, with the shift toward internet trading changing the old rules and requiring business owners to think on their feet. New challenges, however, correspond with new opportunities, including opportunities to dramatically improve supply chain processes. Adapting quickly to these can really give a business an edge.
Logistical priorities
There are four principal considerations in traditional supply chain dynamics, each of which is being reshaped due to the ever-increasing influence of the internet:

Sourcing. It has never been easier to explore options and to research both their shipping methods and their reliability. This puts retailers in a stronger position to negotiate prices, but as competitors will be doing the same thing, businesses need to move fast to secure good deals.

Warehousing. With modern retailers stocking a much wider range of products, storage and organisation have become considerably more complicated. Different types of businesses need to find different solutions to this issue, depending on product type and shipping range.

UK delivery. There is now a much greater choice of delivery agents than there used to be, but not all are equally reliable. The increase in direct-to-customer deliveries, without intermediaries, means deliveries need to be tightly coordinated in order to keep overheads low while at the same time addressing environmental concerns.

International delivery. Because international delivery is now much more common than before the internet age, the process is gradually getting easier, but newcomers should take the time to make sure that they understand tax rules for each country they wish to deliver to, or engage an agent who can help them calculate the best approach.

Changing dynamics
These changing pressures on supply chain logistics are leading to the emergence of new solutions. Increasingly, retailers are not handling warehousing themselves, but are sending orders directly to manufacturers, who then manage the delivery. This, of course, needs to be carefully monitored because the customer will still hold the retailer responsible for any problems that may arise, but it does significantly reduce the extent to which goods need to be moved around, along with all the costs that this would involve. Companies selling products made in house are now increasingly teaming up with other local businesses that have similar delivery priorities in order to share delivery systems, enabling them to operate as efficiently as much bigger organisations.
Streamlining in the internet age
Whether it’s done by working together with other retailers or by separating each part of the supply chain and bringing in specialists to run them, this new, much more streamlined approach to logistics is helping businesses to stay competitive at a challenging time. This new logistical approach is also making it possible for many companies to maintain customer satisfaction levels in a society where people increasingly expect to receive everything immediately. Importantly, these logistics incorporate a level of flexibility that will make it easier for retailers to adapt further as things continue to change. With mass-market 3D printing on the horizon, there will inevitably be more challenges in the years that lie ahead, but developing a more streamlined process can help businesses prepare.