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To retain shelf presence and avoid costly retail compliance penalties, brands are finding themselves dealing with a series of complexity within their supply chain operations. Download this paper to learn about the 5 challenges facing manufacturers in the retail market.

Over the past ten years, the retail supply chain has gone through a massive transformation. A recent survey by Forbes predicts that supply chain and logistics will remain the number one area retailers struggle with in 2018. Bob Phibbs, CEO of the consulting firm The Retail Doctor, believes the solution lies in predictive analytics.

“A lot of retailers have dark data, or information they don’t know is valuable,” he tells Mediaplanet. Phibbs recommends using products such as IBM’s Watson, a super-computer that combines artificial intelligence and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance as a “question answering” machine.

“Using products like [these], retailers can now take that data and use predictive analytics to establish patterns and proactively spot problems and opportunities, and then adjust the supply chain so there are fewer out-of-stocks at the store level.”

“If you’re going to be in business, you better act more like when you first opened your store and be fastidious and have a real laser focus on that person that’s shopping at your store today.”

Businesses of all types and sizes are turning to technology to manage inventory and optimize their retail supply chains.

“Have a single, real-time and accurate view of product orders and inventory across your entire organization so there are less drop-offs between systems,” Phibbs recommends. And he’s not alone — about 60 percent of U.S. retailers use a perpetual inventory management strategy, meaning they record each transaction and track product quantities in real time. These tools provide business owners with increased visibility into their organizations. He continues:

“Use blockchain technology with your vendors so you have a single view of a product from start to finish. This can help with recalls and making sure your products are being made as you expected. You get a reliable record where you can pinpoint every step along the way.”

And while technology is vital to a modern retailer’s success, it’s not a catch-all. When brick-and-mortar retail shops transition to a digital platform, customer service is often mistakenly left on the backburner.

“If you’re going to be in business, you better act more like when you first opened your store and be fastidious and have a real laser focus on that person that’s shopping at your store today.”