The covid infested world has been a nightmare for retail. The entire sector saw a downward turn in sales during March. As one can expect, the following months haven’t been kind to the industry as well. The continuous chain of setbacks has prompted retailers to call for sourcing subcontractors. With the help of these professionals, navigating the pandemic will be easier and the sector can stand on its feet again. How is it going to do it? Read on below.
How is the retail sector planning on bouncing back?
The retail sector is looking forward to strategic sourcing as a means of getting value from 3 main areas. These three areas are related to realigning the supplier relationships, ensuring business continuity, and anticipating the support that will be needed to transition to the ‘new normal.’ So let’s talk about how companies can accomplish each of these three steps.
1. Reforming the supplier relationships
Supply chains have borne the worst effects of the pandemic. Due to broken supply chains, consumer demands have been impacted, and revenues have been lost. In such a situation, companies should look at their suppliers and make the needed changes. However, changing such cemented relationships is difficult because misinformation regarding supplier status is rampant.
In such situations, sourcing consultants will come in use. These professionals will be able to offer retailers transparent supplier data. With the help of this, businesses can reestablish the supplier base. Also, retailers will be able to address risks, distressed suppliers, and prevent covid exposures better. Note that, supply chains will become more agile and reliable, which will help retailers weather further uncertain conditions.
Businesses should note that strong supply chains will allow retailers much more freedom to engage with in-demand goods during this pandemic. With the help of a secure supply stream, it will become easier to support quick replenishments and on-shelf availability.
2. Ensuring business continuity
Business continuity can only be achieved with the help of workers. So, retailers have to ensure the health and safety of the front line employees. Also, the retailer has to extend these measures to the workers involved in distribution centres. Along with this, they must consider the workers engaged in the last-leg of deliveries as well.
To ensure worker protection, procurement experts should be used by retailers. These experts will be able to identify and then establish a proper supplier relationship. Through this channel, retailers can ensure that workers get personal protective gear. Yet, this isn’t enough. As the world slowly goes back to normal with the threat of the pandemic still looming, businesses will have to adjust their opening and closing hours too.
Along with this, stores have to be equipped with cleaning materials, sanitizers, and masks. Moreover, retailers should make use of sourcing consultants to get regular cleaning services to the working and central operating locations.
3. Reforming business operations
Since the pandemic hasn’t abated even after months so retailers will have to take permanent steps to deal with it. After all, it’s very possible that this pandemic will be the new normal for a couple of years at least. One of the steps which retailers can take is offering digital shopping means to their customers. Of course, this needs to be followed up by contactless deliveries.
Retailers should keep in mind that in this pandemic, it is the e-commerce sector that has thrived and improved its sales. So to see continuous improvement, retailers should emulate that model. However, it should be noted that it won’t be easy for any retailer to make a sudden shift that will allow for seamless integration with e-commerce means. Yet, such an organizational transformation must be undertaken. As such retailers will have to change their business model as well as opt for business processes that are digitized.
Know that businesses may have to go through an infrastructure transformation to make the desired digital changes. For this, a capital injection will be needed. To make these changes, business leaderships will have to make use of strategic sourcing experts. These personnel and teams will search for suppliers and partners who are equipped to support such a digital shift in business operations. Note that such strategic consultants will also assist retailers by helping them anticipate consumer shopping needs and habits.
As such, to cope with this unabating pandemic retailers will need to take the necessary steps to adapt to the new conditions. One of the few ways to do so is by opting for e-commerce means. However, making sudden changes isn’t easy. So, strategic sourcing subcontractors have to be used for forming supply lines that can support the shift in business processes and policies. To back up such changes, retailers need to invest in their workers and ensure their safety as well. Overall, the only way to survive this pandemic is by being flexible and adapting according to the conditions.