Supplier new year’s resolutions for 2017

by | Dec 29, 2016

The 2017 New Year is almost here. Now is a time that many individuals resolve to improve themselves in the next year. Some want to get leaner, some want to try new things or lose their bad habits.

Get leaner? Try new things? Eliminate bad habits? When you think about it, suppliers should be pursuing those same types of resolutions in order to do better in 2017, too. There are plenty of places to trim or gain efficiencies, try new technology, update processes and fix recurring issues once and for all. With that in mind, we at SPS Commerce put together a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions that could help suppliers vow to streamline operations, find hidden opportunities, offer better experiences for retail clients and more.

  • Automation in the supply chain – Automation is a huge timesaver. If you have tasks that can be operationalized, such as processing POs and invoices, comparing shipping charges to the contracted rate and automatically re-ordering when supplies run low, supply chain automation could free up time for your employees to accomplish more innovative tasks. Additionally, when operations are automated, they happen faster than if you rely on employees to complete those tasks. Speed is of the utmost importance in today’s retail landscape.
  • Supply chain optimization – Consumers want instant gratification, and as a result, retailers are looking for shortcuts and quick wins to make customers happy. How, when, where and what suppliers and vendors can deliver can play a big role in that. Automation can help, but that’s only part of the equation. When you streamline your supply chain operations, you can become more reliable for retailers, who are in turn then able to better satisfy consumer demands.
  • Drop-ship capability – Consumers are doing more and more of their shopping online, which means more and more retailers are looking at drop shipping. If you don’t offer drop shipping, you could be missing out on some big opportunities. There are a few ways to go about offering drop shipping to your retail customers, and we talk about them over here on our Drop Shipping 101 resource page.
  • Inventory accuracy and visibilityInventory accuracy and visibility for suppliers has never been more important. Customers expect inventory stock-outs at brick-and-mortar stores because there is limited shelf space, but they don’t expect stock outs when they order online. If your retailers are offering products online, they need to be able to make sure that customers are not disappointed after making a purchase. If you supply retailers with up-to-date inventory accuracy, you become a go-to trading partner because you can help them better satisfy their customers.
  • Better forecasting – With better inventory accuracy and visibility comes better forecasting for ensuring that your retailers won’t run out of the items their customers want. If you’re able to better forecast the needs of your retailers to make sure you have what they need, when they need it, you can enhance your relationships with them and potentially expand your opportunities to work with them more in the future.
  • Data mining for new opportunities – Retailers are looking at their data to capitalize on trends and supplier can do the same thing. Since retailers receive their items from suppliers, you’re in a position to see what retailers could be missing. When you begin to make suggestions to buyers and they see dividends from your info, you enhance the relationship to become a more trusted partner. Providing this info could move you from a third or second tier partner to the first tier, too.
  • Understand retailer’s needs betterUnderstanding consumer behavior can help you better understand retailer’s needs. Consumers want to be able to reach retailers on the channels of their choosing, complete with a streamlined online ordering experience and fast delivery. When you structure your inventory and supply chains with the consumer in mind, you’ll be well on your way to addressing your retailers’ needs.
  • Spectacular products details – Because more consumers are making purchases online, accurate and detailed product details are more important than they’ve ever been before. As the supplier, you’re in a better position to offer this information for the retailer. The more thorough you can be with your product descriptions, the more information your retailers will have access to, and the more details they can offer their customers, which in turn can result in more sales. That’s great for the retailer and for you!
  • Collaboration – As you can tell, many of the resolutions for a better 2017 are heavily reliant on having good relationships with your trade partners and retailers. Given the speed of retail these days, good communication and cooperation are integral to e-commerce. Winning suppliers will have closer partnerships with their retailers, starting with excellent communication and moving on from there to drop shipping and beyond.
  • Strengthened inner company culture – A strong inner company culture can help your organization navigate the ever-evolving retail landscape. Employees who are engaged and feel connected to your company are more likely to try harder to do better, especially when faced with new technologies, processes and services. They’re also more likely to volunteer information and make suggestions that could be beneficial for your bottom line.

These are just a few ideas for what suppliers can do to have greater success in the new year. Enjoy New Year’s Eve – celebrate your successes of 2016. We hope you have a happy, healthy and profitable New Year!

Then when all the confetti has been cleared, contact us at SPS Commerce to see what supplier tools and services SPS offers that can help you reach your goals for 2017.

Get products in the hands of more consumers.

Get products in the hands of more consumers.

Automate processes, integrate systems, manage item info, gain data insights and more with SPS solutions.

Scott Bolduc


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