RIS: What major shifts in sourcing have been ignited thanks to the ongoing health crisis?
Welch: Over the last 12 months, our most successful clients worked closely and transparently with their supplier base to secure inventory and weather the pandemic together last spring. As stores began to reopen and consumer confidence returned in the summer, these retailers were able to secure additional product from their strategic suppliers despite massive demand surges that left other retailers and brands in the lurch. They were also able to leverage the supply chain visibility they had on Bamboo Rose to start turning some of their physical stores into micro-distribution centers to support speed and efficiency in their e-commerce businesses. Finally, they were able to quickly collaborate with suppliers on new home décor and leisurewear private brands to meet the fast-changing expectations of their target consumer markets.
RIS: Is there an increased wiliness to share data between business partners? How is this data being leveraged across the enterprise?
Welch: Executive teams and boards are realizing that to be successful in this era of business, there must be tight integration of internal enterprise applications and close, digital collaboration with industry business partners at all phases of the value chain. It is only through this community-driven, end-to-end view of operations that retailers can achieve the agility they need to keep pace with fast changing consumer trends and buying channel expectations. Bamboo Rose clients leveraging our Multi-Enterprise Platform to achieve this cohesive operational view have been able to reduce safety stock by millions, stand-up market-differentiating private brands quickly, and improve time to market by 20%.
RIS: Getting orders right the first time is a retail necessity. How have advances in order management technology helped ensure customer orders are met on-time and on-budget?
Welch: As retailers drive more of their revenue from new buying channels like e-commerce and buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), a transparent and efficient order management system is vital to maintain an exceptional customer experience and high margins. Retailers are achieving these goals by layering a digital purchase order management system on top of their legacy ERP. This approach allows them to collaborate and make changes to orders with suppliers prior to order commitment — leading to a reduction of 3-6 weeks in the order cycle, 75% reduction in PO cycle times, and a 50% reduction in order changes.