In 2011, 35 million pounds of candy corn were produced for Halloween, equating to 9 billion pieces – or 27 pieces for every person in the U.S., that’s a lot of candy corn! Consumers spent $2.2 billion on Halloween candy in 2011, and may spend four times that much in 2012. The National Retail Federation estimates that total Halloween retail spending will reach almost $8 billion in 2012.
How does the retail industry ensure they are addressing the demands of a holiday 2nd in popularity only to Christmas? They rely on a complex web of distributors, third party logistics (3PL), transportation, and other organizations to work together to deliver and meet the demands of consumers. At REMEDI, through experience and observation, we know that business integration can be more complex for certain supply chain participants than in the average organization. However, improvements in enterprise resource and supply chain planning software is making it easier to integrate information across multiple supply chain activities and other business systems within a company.
Embracing best practices in enterprise integration will enable retailers and their suppliers to conduct smarter commerce by adapting sourcing and procurement of goods and services based on customer demand. Consumer expectations for perfect orders – delivered on-time, in the right quantity, and at the right price – has made supply chain integrationa business necessity for enhancing competitive advantage. Supply chain distributors/participants in this process operate from specifications handed down from OEMs, customers, carriers, and package delivery vendors to meet the staggering demands on candy, costumes, decorations, and even costumes for pets. Essentially they are confronted with conforming to everyone’s data formats and implementation or integration requirements, getting to mandate none of their own; as they would in a typical customer/supplier relationship.
I’m sure it’s no surprise that organizations using this comprehensive approach to integration in the supply chain are usually rated “best in class” and can accommodate any integration request, exchange data using any protocol, and can do so in a manner that provides safety, security, auditability, and conformance to required service level agreements. This concept is the next transformation in development of supply chain integration and synchronization that enables businesses to create a true circle of excellence.
Are you in the supply chain, or confronted with this type of complexity in your industry? Have you implemented, or are you considering, a comprehensive approach to integration? What has it done, or could it do, for your organization…?
Comprehensive approaches to business, data, and systems integration are transforming organizations everywhere: speeding time to revenue, creating reusable partner onboarding patterns, and alleviating the one off patchwork approach to integrations that result in system redundancy and maintenance nightmares. Learn more at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/commerce/b2b/b2b-integration/ and http://www.ibm.com/software/commerce/managed-file-transfer/
Brad Loetz, President, REMEDI Electronic Commerce Group. Brad has 23 years experience with various organizations in information technology and business roles including software developer, product/project manager, executive manager, entrepreneur, and business owner. His related vertical industry expertise includes manufacturing, retail, banking & financial services, distribution, transportation, and logistics.