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  • NETMEDIA International

[Ecolive21] Supply chain: how to prepare for the unexpected?

Products in stock, guaranteed fast delivery times, optimization of resources and costs ... These are the challenges of the Supply Chain. On the program of E-commerce Live21, a thrilling debate between BearingPoint, Gorillas and Furet Decitre! Here is what we had to remember.

If the year 2020 has been particularly stressful, it has also been rich in lessons learned! Among the most important: the need to prepare for the unpredictable, especially in the logistics sector. As physical retail outlets went down, as customers embraced new consumption channels, retailers had to adapt and rely on the adaptability and flexibility of the entire supply chain.

For Cyril Olivier, General Manager of Furet Decitre, the situation is clear: "the health crisis was characterized not only by an increase in activity for the supply chain, but also by major disruptions in product sourcing and significant variations in customer demand. To cope with this unprecedented situation, companies have had to not only define but also constantly evolve "their master plan, accept to constantly test new systems and ensure that the entire supply chain is connected". But beyond responding to the urgency of a situation, it is a question of learning lessons. Everyone agrees on the need for agility in the face of a crisis situation," noted Jean-Michel Huet, Partner at BearingPoint. But this agility requires a lot of rigor in the choice of tools, work methods and the way people work together.

Facing uncertainty with data...

Many business sectors have been disrupted by the health restrictions. The sale of daily newspapers on newsstands has not escaped the rule. The shelf life of a daily newspaper does not exceed 12 hours," said Jean-Michel Huet, "whereas the shelf life of fresh products can be much longer! ". To optimize the distribution of the daily press, BearingPoint exploited Big Data. "We had been using a day-by-day sales forecasting tool called Nitro for two years," said Jean-Michel Huet. These two years of history, combined with Artificial Intelligence, allowed us to adapt the models and recalculate the draws and volumes distributed at the time of the crisis. "Tools, methods and human intelligence are the essential ingredients for excellence," said Jean-Michel Huet. A vision confirmed by Cyril Olivier who also underlined the importance of the supply chain in the customer relationship: "delivery is the last contact a brand can have with its customer... It must be part of the core business because it allows to bring the offer to the customer".

Supply Chain: more central than ever!

It is precisely the fact of placing logistics at the heart of its offer that has allowed Gorillas France to experience a dazzling development! Pierre Guionin, General Manager of Gorillas France, was keen to point out that "Gorillas was born in Germany during the COVID-19 episode and the company quickly established itself as a leader in ultra-fast delivery". The promise of this Quick Commerce player now present in some 50 cities: an offer of nearly 2,000 references that can be delivered within 10 minutes in the cities served. "Our model is revolutionary because it brings together the purchase, storage and delivery of goods in a single point. A reality that offers us extreme flexibility to be available to the customer.

Delivering differently, delivering faster, offering a different experience thanks to the involvement of delivery people (riders) on permanent contracts, we position ourselves as a new mode of consumption. Beyond the crisis, this mode of consumption has been in demand for more than 5 years. "The technology is mature enough to meet this need for proximity and speed, but it is essential to put the human factor back at the heart of this activity. Combining technology and the human factor to face the unpredictable, a method that gives results, but as Cyril Olivier concluded: "There is no one solution to the crisis, it is the combination of different actions that allows us to combine mechanization and human treatment. Not being Manichean, taking a step back to combine the best mechanics, is the key to this transformation.

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