An assortment of success & setbacks | Supply chain disruptions leave a sour taste

With a whole museum dedicated to product failures and businesses faced with disruption, Supply chain bloggers, Sam Phipps and Jessie Cooper digest the hottest topics from the last 7 days.

New product introductions: An assortment of success & setbacks

Encompassing everything from Bic’s range of “for her” biro pens to Nokia’s N-gage, a dismal attempt at a games-console-phone hybrid, according to the Guardian, there is now a whole museum dedicated to product failures. Whilst nostalgic, this tourist attraction highlights the real risk businesses take when introducing new items to their assortment. Given the costs associated with introducing a new product, commercial failures always come at a high price. But what can businesses do to ensure their exploding assortments are as successful as possible?

Even for products with multi-million-pound marketing budgets, success is never guaranteed. Consequently, businesses must do their homework before introducing a new product to their assortment. Through reviewing historic sales data for similar products already within their assortment and then combining this with market intelligence gathered from across the businesses, decision makers can begin to assess whether there is a sufficient demand to support another product.

With this in mind, what processes do you have in place to minimise your exposure to risk when introducing new products?

Supply chain disruptions leave a sour taste

For businesses in the food industry, one of the main causes of supply chain disruption is the availability of ingredients. In fact, 77% of food manufacturers in the US reported that the increased complexity that arises from this issue is now the fastest-growing risk for business continuity. Do British businesses face the same challenge? If so, what can they do to combat the causes?

Increasingly globalised supply chains have led to a lack of visibility for many food companies. In order to improve transparency and gain greater insight over the supply chain, organisations must take steps to improve the accuracy of their forecasts. Through putting in place tools and technologies that can account for volatility in the market and seasonality as well as emerging trends, businesses can better position themselves to anticipate future demand.

However, while accurate forecasts are essential to ensure that organisations can keep up with the expectations of their customers, there could be some huge potential benefits from sharing such information with suppliers. Through establishing more collaborative relationships, this, in turn, will provide supply chain partners with more time to prepare their operations, thus minimising the risk of bottlenecks and supply shortfalls.

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