Supply chain efficiency is the top IT priority for the retail and wholesale industry this year, new research has shown.
The new study from analyst IDC's European vertical markets group looked at the key challenges facing retailers and wholesalers in Western Europe, their business priorities and IT investment plans.
It highlighted supply chain efficiency improvement and efficient sourcing and procurement as the key issue. The study found that e-procurement initiatives were increasing, supplier agreements were being monitored in real time and optimised, and warehouse operations were being consolidated and rationalised.
Ivano Ortis, programme manager for IDC's manufacturing insights group, said, “The current business landscape is pushing retailers in diversifying their business strategies and optimising the service delivery, while achieving advanced performance management and enhanced operational efficiencies in order to counteract the effect of volatile consumers.”
The research also highlighted the industry’s focus on customer service, marketing effectiveness and sales productivity. Improving store operations was “one of the most critical areas” in achieving new levels of consumer satisfaction., the study noted.
Management and operation improvements were also important to retailers and wholesalers, with mobile working a key route to enhancing productivity and improving customer service. Ensuring accurate real-time business performance management was “fundamental” for retailers, the study found.