It's no secret that efficiency and speed are must-haves for a successful apparel supply chain. If the right product is not in the store when the consumer is ready to buy, the sale is lost, yet stockouts and chargebacks are multi-billion dollar problems for retailers (and vendors), totaling anywhere from 3.5 percent to 9 percent of revenue, says Ilaria Derr, president and COO, Inovis. Improving visibility into the supply chain allows apparel companies to receive better communication from its various points and make better decisions when problems arise.
"B2B communications are very critical in improving the supply chain and lowering costs," says Harry Roberts, CIO, Boscov's Department Stores. Having streamlined its supply chain with the use of electronic ASNs, which saves the company approximately $1 per carton (vs. a paper ASN), the company was experiencing difficulties because it could only identify shipment problems after they occurred - too late in the cycle to amend the electronic ASN in a timely fashion. Implementation of Inovis Reveal, which allows for tighter tracking and management of trading community transactions, allows Boscov's to be "very proactive, to monitor the entire document process . and identify, very quickly, when there are errors," he says. Boscov's objective is to increase its useful ASNs by 20 percent to 30 percent. The tool is particularly invaluable for Boscov's: Of its large core vendor base of 2,000, approximately 1,000 rotate on a yearly basis, "so we're dealing with new vendors all the time," says Roberts.