1) Traditional supply chain methods seem to be rapidly changing. How has the E-commerce growth reshaped the way snow sports businesses are moving a product from supplier to customer?
Traditionally, many customers operated in a “sell and then buy” environment. Order book forecasts from retailers and specialty shops drove purchasing habits, timing and delivery methodology.
In todays environment our customers must take an inventory position to satisfy on demand delivery at the unit level for the B2C stream. The impact here is universal and is altering nearly all touch points in the supply chain. From modes of transport on inbound, facility and fulfillment profiling to domestic delivery methods.
2) Anything specific to the snow sports industry that you’ve seen?
E-comm has a universal impact as noted above. However, with Snow Sports it requires even greater flexibility and better planning for execution vs. traditional, non seasonal consumer goods. Its challenging enough to plan with retailers and specialty shops when we are waiting for the snow to fall, but to forecast inventory levels for the individual consumer creates even more of a challenge. Top tier quality, best in class service and product support is the only way to circumvent the challenge we face in this space.
3) What can a mid-sized company proactively do to become an effective omni channel supplier?
Pray for Snow. The main struggle remains with managing inventory and throughput for all of the channels. They should collaborate with a 3PL and work through a comprehensive review of their existing sales and distribution model, inbound supply chain and goals for future sales channels. From there, etching out an infrastructure which controls costs, manages the multiple-channel inventory process and enables the business to scale from a throughput and geographic perspective will be a great first step.
4) How can suppliers and the buying communities bridge the fulfillment gap between retailers?
Partnership. Understanding the retailer requirements and proactively collaborating to delivery high quality products on time and in line with Vendor Guide Requirements. Small to Mid-Size organizations struggle with this post PO environment once they have expanded into the Mass retail space. Working with a 3PL in advance with experience in this space will enable them to better understand the PO requirements and have awareness of potential risks against Chargebacks and PO Cancelations, etc.
5) Do you guys provide SIA members with any type of special treatment when it comes to account management?
Absolutely! We offer VIP benefits to all SIA members in which includes but not limited to; executive sponsorship on the account, education sessions, strategic reviews and more!
SIA’s Local Workshops in Manchester, NH 9/29 and Westminster, CO 10/1 have been postponed. Stay tuned for re-scheduling details! Find upcoming webinars through the Digital Hub on the Industry + Intelligence 365 program page.