Supply chain and operations in the retail & consumer goods sector: What’s trending?

Supply chain management is very important for companies active in the retail and consumer goods sector. Ann Vereecke, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at Vlerick Business School, sheds light on the latest trends and touches upon some points of interest.


Today, more than ever, companies are recognising the importance of multi-channel strategies,” says Ann Vereecke, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at Vlerick. “They realise there are alternative routes to get their products to their customers, the most obvious being e-commerce. Europe and Belgium have been slow to pick up on this potential, but they seem to be catching up. Multi-channel strategies have a huge impact on the supply chain and raise several questions such as how to position the different distribution channels, how customer expectations differ across channels and whether the best way to respond to them is via one common or separate supply chains. These are just some of the questions companies today are seriously considering and they’re setting up systems to provide the answers.


Accompanying this trend is another one: being able to accurately forecast which customer needs what, when and where in order to control inventory costs while optimising customer service has become more important than ever. “Nowadays, companies have access to more and better data as well as better forecasting models and tools. They are increasingly combining technology and human judgement to optimise their forecasts.


And last but not least, Ann sees a trend towards more sustainable supply chains. “Companies are integrating sustainability considerations into all aspects of their supply chain, from sourcing, procurement and manufacturing to distribution logistics. This is a general trend, but one that is particularly strong in the retail & consumer goods sector, which is especially sensitive to public opinion, due to the increasing social pressure on companies to reduce the adverse impact of their operations and activities.

This is just one example of how Vlerick Business School applies its expertise and knowledge in different fields to the needs of the retail & consumer goods industry. Are you a manager or business owner involved in retailing or selling consumer goods? Do you want to develop further in the areas of strategy, marketing, supply chain, finance or leadership? Then the retail & consumer goods platform is your tailor-made solution.




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