Speed to market

Speed to Market – Challenges and Opportunities

Gopal Iyer Blog, Retail, Supply Chain

Supply chains have now evolved into complex beings, which are networked at multiple levels. These “supply networks” are complex not just in terms of the number of entities, but also in terms of their length. It is not surprising to see these modern day networks extending across the globe, delaying the process and information flows involved. To worsen the issue, …

The omniscient retailer – channels and data

The omniscient retailer – channels and data

Carissa Dzwonek Blog, Retail, Supply Chain

4C Associates’ Carissa Dzwonek explores how omnichannel retailers can leverage the latest solutions to become all-knowing. Omni-channel retail is nothing new. Any business with a bricks and mortar presence, coupled with an online offer can claim to operate across multiple channels. More advanced organisations develop frictionless offers across channels, enabling them to convert customers effectively, regardless of the device or …

Supply chains, manufacturing and Industry 4.0

Supply chains, manufacturing and Industry 4.0

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Supply Chain

Cloud computing, robotics, automation, data exchange… 4C’s Milan Panchmatia considers how businesses can leverage new opportunities in the era of the ‘smart factory’ Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, has the potential to transform the way in which products are created, transported and sold. This new era was ushered in thanks to technologies such as automation, cloud …

Eliminating modern slavery from global supply chains

Eliminating modern slavery from global supply chains

Robin Agarwal Blog, Supply Chain

Slavery is a global issue that affects businesses regardless of their geographic location. International companies involved in clothes manufacturing, farming and mining activities are seen as the most at risk, but the issue can affect almost any industry. The UK Modern Slavery Act has shone a light on the issue of forced labour in supply chains. The Act requires businesses …

The future of retail supply chains

The future of retail supply chains

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Retail, Supply Chain

4C Associates’ Milan Panchmatia examines how retailers can adapt their supply chains to take advantage of new opportunities. The retail industry is one of the fastest changing on the globe. New technologies are being developed at a rate never seen before and the level of competition in the field is greater than ever. Small, agile companies are finding ways to …

The challenge of ethical sourcing for fashion brands

The challenge of ethical sourcing for fashion brands

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Retail, Supply Chain

4C Associates’ Milan Panchmatia examines how global fashion companies can balance sustainable supply chains with the need to grow their business. Supply chains are increasingly fragmented and complex. Rapidly changing demand, economic uncertainty and higher levels of competition, mean businesses are constantly having to review their supply lines. Nowhere is this truer than in the fashion industry. Here companies are …

Lean supply chains - Walking the tightrope

Lean supply chains – Walking the tightrope

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Supply Chain

Milan Panchmatia examines how supply chains have been affected by recent natural disasters and how businesses have sought to minimise future risks. Globalisation has provided businesses across the globe with countless opportunities to reshape their supply chains and reach out to new customers. In some sectors, the sheer number of suppliers available has allowed leading organisations to completely alter their …

The reverse supply chain challenge

The reverse supply chain challenge

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Retail, Supply Chain

Online shopping has resulted in a wealth of opportunities for retailers, but also an array of new challenges. In this post, 4C Associates’ Milan Panchmatia considers why retailers need to take a closer look at their reverse supply chains. It is no secret that online retail is booming. According to figures from IMRG and Capgemini, UK retailers made £114bn from …

Horse meat scandal – what’s changed?

Horse meat scandal – what’s changed?

Philip Joss Blog, FMCG, Supply Chain

When horse DNA was first found in beef products being sold in Britain, many felt we had reached a high water mark. There was a general feeling that food supply practices had become unsustainable and lacked transparency. Major retailers withdrew ten million burgers from their stores within the first few months of the news leaking. Two elements are widely believed …

Supply chain financing

The evolution of supply chain finance

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Supply Chain

Back in October 2012, the Prime Minister unveiled a new scheme aimed at helping smaller businesses secure affordable finance. The initiative received a wide range of support and leading companies, including Diageo, Kingfisher, Tesco and IBM all signed up. The popularity of the scheme and the fact it was driven by both public and private sector organisations, indicates the potential …

How to incentivise suppliers

How to incentivise suppliers

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Procurement, Supply Chain

In an economic climate where many businesses need to do more with less, procurement functions are increasingly looking to uncover new ways to incentivise their suppliers. Incentivising suppliers to deliver improved performances is not a new concept in the world of procurement. However, with an increasing number of businesses facing tighter margins, it is an area which certainly merits investigating. The …

Investing in green supply chains

Milan Panchmatia Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

More and more leading businesses are investing in initiatives aimed at creating more sustainable supply chains. Whereas one might assume the practice would negatively impact revenue, the reality is that many companies have used these developments to drive significant cost and process benefits. Re-designing supply chains to cut carbon emissions and generally creating more sustainable practices have already helped companies …

Systemic risks in global supply chain: Suez Canal

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

In the globalised economy we have come to take the long supply chain from the Far East to Europe for granted. Considerations such as lead times and quality assurance dominate decisions over Far East sourcing. However, such a long supply chain is inherently vulnerable. When making such a major decision, it is critical that buyers understand systemic risks which could cause catastrophic …

Apples and supply chains

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

One of the reasons behind Apple’s success is the company’s exceptional attention to detail. From the sleek design of its products to the intuitive nature of its software, nothing is left to chance. Thankfully for the California based company, the same amount of planning seems to have gone in to its supply chain strategy.Supply Chain Best PracticeAccording to Gartner’s 2012 Supply …

Green savings in supply chain

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

An increasing number of leading businesses have partaken in green initiatives, aimed at making their supply chains more efficient in order to reduce waste. Boots and Tesco, for example, have committed to reducing food and drink waste by signing up for the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment. This voluntary agreement is focussed on improving resource efficiency and mitigating the environmental …

How Google GLASS could revolutionise distribution centres

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

The introduction of consumer technology into supply chain procedures is not something new. Digital imaging, for example, is currently being used for multiple purposes, including proof of delivery, capturing shelf displays and even recording damage for warranty claims. Other common examples include Real Time Location Systems, used to track goods, and 2D bar codes for shelf location labelling. Google GLASS has the …

The changing balance between risk and reward will see a rise in onshoring over offshoring

k a Blog, Supply Chain

4C Associates‘ third debate of 2013, focused on the changing balance of risk and reward in relation to offshoring and onshoring. Topics discussed included the rise in labour costs in many emerging markets, the risks associated with outsourcing to another country and implementing best practice. Ed Ainsworth, Managing Director at 4C Associates argued for the motion, whereas Rob Lees, Managing …

Supply chain scandal forces companies to act

Petra Urhofer Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

A number of major corporations were caught on the back foot by the discovery of horse meat in several products. Many of the UK’s major food retailers have had to remove stock from shelves and issue apologises to their customers. The scandal highlighted the growing level of risk associated with global supply chains. Not only does a far reaching web of suppliers …

Reducing excess waste in supermarket supply chains

admin Blog, Retail, Supply Chain 0 Comments

Short shelf life is one of the most obvious differences between food products and non-perishable goods. Whereas items such as manufacturing supplies and stationary are fairly straightforward to transport, food products pose numerous challenges. Buyers must pay close attention to a multitude of details, specific to the sector, if they are to optimise operations and drive growth. Fresh Products and …

Energy efficiency and supply chain savings

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

Back in January when we brought you our “Predictions for 2013“, we suggested that one key trend would be aligning “green initiatives” with cutting costs. Since then a number of environmentally conscious supply chain projects have been launched and have met with considerable success. Green Incentives Marks & Spencer’s, one of the UK’s leading retailers, was recently presented with a …

Horse meat saga reveals lack of visibility in supply chains

admin Blog, FMCG, Supply Chain 0 Comments

The discovery of horse meat in a number of supermarket products has outraged the British public and led to a call for more stringent checks. One of the most disturbing elements of the story is the lack of clarity regarding which company is responsible for the contamination. Retailers and suppliers have all taken to blaming each other. Aldi, Findus and …

Leveraging supply chains for parcel deliveries

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

The dramatic rise in online shopping has resulted in an increase in parcel deliveries which has yet to be translated into profit. Craig Bunker considers how leveraging supply chains to carry out parcel deliveries, can help businesses bolster their margins. One of the issues currently facing retailers is the cost of parcel deliveries. As more and more customers opt to have purchases delivered …

Evolving supply chains and fuel prices

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

As 2012 comes to an end, 4C Associates looks back at some of the predictions  made earlier this year. Craig Bunker considers prediction number 12: “High fuel costs and environmental concerns will drive the need for the next level of supply chain optimisation.” A recent Jones Lang LaSalle survey, revealed that 95 per cent of supply chain managers believe rising energy and transport …

Supplying the last 50 yards of Christmas

admin Blog, Retail, Supply Chain 0 Comments

Despite having had 10 months to plan for the festive spending spree, many retailers are not taking full advantage of their shopping outlets. A recent YouGov SixthSense report revealed that UK households will spend £792m less on Christmas this year than in 2011. These findings highlight the need for retailers to optimise all aspects of the supply chain process. Increased …

Making cents of online delivery

admin Blog, Retail, Supply Chain 0 Comments

Despite the huge rise in popularity of online shopping, the logistics sector has struggled to turn increased deliveries into a profit. A new survey sheds some light on how the industry can cut costs and keep customers happy. The Hermes’ 2012 Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey has revealed that four in 10 consumers are more likely to purchase a product if …

Onshoring vs offshoring: the winds of change

admin Blog, Supply Chain 0 Comments

Was 2012 the year rising labour and transport costs made offshoring a costly and impracticable option? A rise in labour and transport costs means that offshoring functions to China, and other nations in the Far East, does not always represent best value. In fact, a growing number of western companies have begun repatriating or ‘onshoring’ certain activities. Surging Costs and …