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The need to digitally transform the supply chain has accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the retail environment, according to a Coresight Research survey published this month.

The survey of 118 retailers highlights their need to “pivot,” and suggests that “the capacity to adapt to changing consumer preferences about both shopping and order fulfilment will be the key to survival during and coming out of these unprecedented times.” The researchers also said retailers should “fundamentally change their approach to their supply and support ecosystem if they are to remain competitive.” 

The answer? Connecting with suppliers on a single, cloud-based technology platform that allows participants in the value chain to share information and make faster, better-informed decisions on a range of issues, including inventory, production, and logistics.

“Our survey found that close to 50% of retailers surveyed felt that the ongoing agility and flexibility of their supply chains was their most pressing business issue in the upcoming 12 to 24 months,”  Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research, said in a statement announcing the survey and subsequent report titled A New Reality Demands a Networked Product and Supply Chain Platform. “Recent, unprecedented changes to the retail industry, and the world, support this feeling–let’s recall that grocery stores across the U.S. rapidly ran out of toilet paper and baking yeast early in spring 2020. How could those shortages have been prevented–getting the customers the products and the retailers the revenue they needed–had supply chains been prepared to pivot?”

So-called “multi-enterprise technology platforms,” can help retailers navigate the challenges of the pandemic as well as a post-pandemic world, the researchers added, pointing to the enhanced supply chain visibility and communication such systems provide. Such systems offer: 

  • Cloud-based, real-time business networks that facilitate communication and collaboration.

  • Improved business relationships.

  • Accelerated speed to market due to increased options, more informed choices, and overall supply chain visibility.

  • Heightened collaboration across the entire value chain.

  • Enhanced sales and profitability, and new revenue opportunities.

New York-based Coresight Research worked with supply chain technology firm Bamboo Rose to conduct the survey in May 2020. 

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