A nightmare for retailers is situations like this, where customers are experiencing empty shelfs.
The normal process for handling these situations is to have store employees to constantly monitor shelfs, back office stocks and to order replenishment when needed. We also see a lot of number crunching demand forecasting systems being offered to the marked, and with a questionable success rate.
Up until now, we have seen systems that have a quite slow react time. Goods are replenished and received. When selling the products there where delays in getting an updated on-hand, and very often a nightly master planning created planned orders that is manually firmed and then sent to the vendors or the central warehouse. In essence the process to getting replenishment signals through the supply chain can take day’s.
With the Dynamics 365 Commerce I now see a maturity to speed up the replenishment process, making it possible to dramatically shorten the lead times in each step. Let me explain:
- Retail statement trickle feed
I have covered this topic a few times before, but in essence this means that the sales transactions generated from a POS sale, is updated at a much faster rate. Having an updated on-hand is essential, and where the outbound sales transactions reflects the actual situation on the shelfs.
- Inbound inventory operations in POS/Handheld
The ability to quickly post the arrival and receive directly on the POS ensures that inbound transactions are updated in real time. Also the ability to quickly manually request replenishment for processing can now be done directly in the POS.
- Outbound inventory operation in POS/Handheld
Faster request goods from other places can reduce the lead time and prevent stock-out situations. If some products are available at a another near store/warehouse that having processes to make them available across other near sales channels can speed up the replenishment.
- Planning Optimalization
Nightly master planning (MRP) is too slow for retailers, and are better suited for businesses with longer lead-times. Retailers are looking for speed. With the Planning Optimalizations features we have a close to real-time generation of planned purchase and transfer orders. As soon as needed the system can initiate the supply chain process based on the on-hand and future expected transactions. In standard D365 there are also automatic firming processes that will generate purchase and transfer orders. These orders can be further processed and automatically be sent to vendors or from other storage locations. But it can also be used to automate transfers from a back-office storage and into the store shelfs.
Solution is still in public preview but are very promising some exiting capabilities that can visually monitor your store and enable triggers that start executing supply chain processes. The first abilities are “Display effectiveness“, “Queue management” and “Shopper analytics“, and where the data collection are based on camera technology.
By optimizing the flow, it should be possible within Dynamics 365 to speed up and automate the replenishment process to be executed within 10 minutes after the sale have been conducted. Also, with signals from the connected store solution, this can be used to automatically adjust the minimum on-hand/Shelfs based on actual observed data. The gains and possibilities towards what Dynamics now can offer can again bring profit back to modern Brick&Morter retailers.
I hope this can inspire people to look deeper into the capabilities we now can deliver.