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How is the UK Retail Supply Chain Different from Other Countries

Jan 8, 2020

Our experience with different companies shows that Irish and UK retail supply chains are ahead of their continental European counterparts. The level of satisfaction regarding supply chain planning and forecasting system is slightly higher for the UK and Irish retailers in comparison to their counterparts. However, organizations will be confronted with the full impact of Brexit in January 2021. Businesses must start scenario planning and prepare in earnest for all possible eventualities. They must use the transition period till 31 December 2020 to gain a comprehensive understanding of their options and run simulations to determine the solutions that may be best for them post-Brexit. But before that, let’s understand how the UK retail supply chain differs from the rest of Europe.  

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Ways the UK Retail Supply Chain Differs from the Rest of Europe

Retail supply chain processes

Retail supply chains in the UK are slightly more responsive when compared to their European counterparts. They have comparatively more reporting features in their supply chain processes. However, there persists a high level of dissatisfaction with processes. Most of the UK retailers require accurate forecasts of future out-of-stocks, as the most desired feature to improve their retail supply chain management. 

Awareness of space data 

Retailers in Europe consider space as part of their replenishment process. The overall awareness of space data such as minimum display requirements and changes in the amount of space in individual stores is relatively low. However, retailers in the UK have a slightly higher awareness of space data as they tend to be early adopters of space management systems. Also, they are more likely to have processes that integrate external data (such as weather or social media sentiment analysis) into their forecasts when compared to different countries in Europe.

Forecasting issues in different markets 

Forecasting for new products and promotions is one of the top challenges concerning retailers in Europe. While this is a challenge for companies in Europe, retailers in the UK report fewer forecasting issues than other markets and express fewer inaccuracies in most forecasting categories. The higher concentration of multiple retailers and domination by the retail supply chain in the UK could be a few of the reasons contributing to this. However, it provides UK retailers the possibility to aim for economies of scale, something independent retailers in Europe can’t.

Inability to address forecasting issues can make it difficult for retailers to ensure their presence in the market. Stay a step ahead by requesting a free demo of our procurement platform to gain exclusive insights to devise effective retail supply chain management and logistics strategies. 

Single stock pools

Rather than reserving the stock for individual channels, retailers are operating a single stock pool to serve all their sales channels. However, the number of retailers running a single stock pool in the UK are not many, despite being a long-running European leader in operating sophisticated omnichannel retail.

UK retailers should consider moving to a single stock pool to reap the added benefits of reducing overstock and expediting replenishment. They should start looking at overcoming the possible complexities of switching to a single stock pool. 

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