Agentrics, the retail and supply chain solutions provider, is launching a new solution suite, offered in a hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) format, focused on enabling a more synchronised supply chain. The company reports that the service will allow retailers and manufacturers to more effectively collaborate on managing their supply chains, leading to more balanced stock levels, better customer service, and an altogether greener and more sustainable supply chain. The global supply chain collaboration platform being launched follows successful programs supporting customers such as Carrefour, Unilever, PepsiCo, and Best Buy. Agentrics customers have demonstrated that retailers can reduce out-of-stocks by between twenty and fifty per cent by improving supply chain collaboration using the platform.
"Until now, various attempts at getting retailers and suppliers to effectively create multi-organizational collaborative processes have produced mixed results," says Wellington Machado, chief executive at Agentrics. "The problem has been compounded by a lack of visibility across the entire supply chain, which you only get from working with a multitude of retailers and suppliers together."
Research by the Institute of Grocery and Distribution (IGD) in 2010 revealed that only around forty per cent of companies believed their collaborative approaches to be any good, mainly due to inaccurate demand forecasts and out-of-date sales history. Most industry insiders claim that availability of resources remains the biggest hurdle to effective collaboration.
Currently retailers are challenged with a proliferation of data, driven by new products, new stores, new channels and continuously volatile consumer demand. Agentrics' suite of supply chain solutions enables the efficient distribution of this data, while providing the tools and analysis required for retailers and manufacturers to create actionable information and build collaborative processes.
"When collaboration programs have not worked, we've felt that the problems have been primarily driven by a focus on data from a limited number of partners, rather than building a program that covers the retailer's entire supply chain network," says Machado.
The launch of the Agentrics collaboration platform marks a significant event in the company's history, a decade on from the merging of the Worldwide Retail Exchange (WWRE) and Global Net Exchange (GNX). These organizations were originally created by the world's leading retailers, such as Tesco, Ahold and Carrefour, to provide hosted, SaaS based solutions and drive best practices in supply chain collaboration. Agentrics claims that a more cohesive structure and aggregated view of data from multiple retail channels will offer significant mutual benefits to all those involved.
"We want to support our customers and market to achieve a fully integrated business network, delivering efficient processes in a spirit of more collaboration and openness," says Machado. "If you want to build a more effective network driving supply chain efficiencies, we'll make sure you have the information and tools to help improve availability by connecting your suppliers in a collaborative supply chain synchronisation programme."
Other benefits of improved collaboration between retailers and suppliers include: reductions in surplus stock; improved availability; easier detection of missing goods in the supply chain, more streamlined deliveries to stores; increased sales from improved replenishment and fully-stocked shelves.
"Most retailers today are looking to improve operational efficiencies, while everyone is becoming increasingly adept with business and social networking tools," concludes Machado. "We're taking the next steps towards more secure business networking for the benefit of retailers and manufacturers, to build sustainable value for all."