On June 24–26, 2015, Kurt Salmon presented with DSW at LLamasoft SummerCon, a global conference that brings together supply chain executives and expert practitioners to discuss supply chain design and strategy.

What insights did you share?

“Speed” has emerged as a critical factor influencing supply chain design. In other words, in today’s complex marketplace, for many retailers, the cost of doing nothing—or failing to adapt their network—could be greater than the investments required to equip an omnichannel supply chain. Moving forward, the dimension of speed must be incorporated into each component of a retailer’s supply chain design to deliver against current and future omnichannel customer service promises. Through leveraging LLamasoft’s supply chain design software, DSW and Kurt Salmon executed an omnichannel network strategy that ultimately resulted in reduced service times, enhanced customer engagement, strategically positioned inventory, improved cost control and increased profitability.

What resonated most with the audience?

Candidly, upgrading and redesigning supply chains to foster reduced service times requires a high investment in both time and resources. A key trigger in making this investment, and something that resonated powerfully with the audience, was the idea that internal teams at retail organizations can leverage tools to measure and analyze the cost-benefit ratio of upgrading their supply chain design at high, medium and low levels of investment. This analysis enables these teams to strategically choose which level of investment is needed to foster competitive advantage and lead their company to omnichannel supply chain success.

What new thinking emerged?

The emergence of centers of excellence (COEs), also known as modeling teams, in both large and small retail organizations, is trending in the retail industry. These teams are tasked with continually analyzing and improving supply chain design and fulfillment operations. In some cases, these teams are quite large, ranging from five to 10 individuals. What is interesting, however, is that the overarching mission and goals of these teams are not yet crystal clear. In other words, the supply chain design best practices for COEs remain relatively unclear in terms of what will create the most value for retailers in the long term. As a result, there is a significant opportunity for leading retailers’ COE teams to further develop and hone these supply chain design best practices.

17 July 2015