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SA retailers set an example in demand planning

Aug 15th 2012, 08:30

SA retailers set an example in demand planning

Understanding customer demand, planning for that demand and fulfilling demand is key to retail success. Be it an art or a science, one thing is for sure, clarity throughout the supply chain is a fundamental necessity if retailers are to meet consumer demand while still managing to maintain a lean and efficient operation.

In South Africa, one would expect consumer demand to be unusually difficult to meet. Cultural diversity, economic diversity, large geographic spread of stores as well as distance from manufacturing hubs and difficult port infrastructure are all obstacles that retailers need to overcome. Having said this, South African retailers fulfil demand remarkably well in relation to their counterparts around the world and they seem to do it across a broad spectrum of retail formats.

So, what makes South African retailers so good at getting the right products in store under some fairly difficult circumstances? Well there could be any number of reasons, some unique and other common to certain groups of retailers. What we do know is that most South African retailers, especially apparel retailers tend to spend more, relative to turnover, on assortment and merchandise planning, forecast and replenishment planning software as well as consulting services in these areas.

It’s an interesting fact. It may be that the environment is difficult and therefore our retailers need to spend more in these areas to be able to operate, or it could be that by spending more in these areas retailing operations improve. Either way, it is clear that planning software and the skills required to implement them into retail business are an integral part of successful modern retailing.

Craig Ballantyne

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