Since 1989, when Wal-Mart made point of sale data available to its suppliers, the supply chain has truly been driven by consumer demand. Significant initiatives of category management, vendor managed inventory, electronic data interchange, advanced shipping notice, business intelligence systems and collaborative forecasting and replenishment have taken significant costs out of the supply chain and improved inventory turnover.
Today, the battleground for maximization of customer satisfaction and ensuring consumer retention depends to a large extent on the execution at the last 1,000 feet of the supply chain, the distance between the receiving docks of a retail store and its checkout counters. The steps undertaken in the final 1,000 feet are burdened by cost, accuracy and time spent to track product flow and take physical inventory. The problem is exacerbated by inadequate business processes, lack of information synchronicity, quality of employees, and the reality that information cannot be economically and accurately gathered at the critical points of necessity. In other words, the supply chain does everything it can right—except get the product on the store shelves.
Maximizing such efficiencies is the focus of the first annual Consumer Electronics Supply Chain Academy (CESCA), a featured conference at the International CES January 10-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (www.cesupplychain.com).