RETAILERS AND BRANDS LOOK TO RING UP RECORD SALES DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON
What are the challenges that Indian retailers face their supply chain? What are the key trends impacting the Indian retail industry and supply chain process in retail? How can warehousing automation help retailers address challenges?
A report by Grey Orange– Zinnoy Study* looks at these problems and offers the right solutions that can help reinvent the retailer’s supply chain to support the changing market dynamics.
The retail industry in India is emerging as one of the largest industries in the economy. It accounts for over 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and around 8 per cent of the employment. India’s retailing industry mostly consists of the local mom and pop store, owner manned shops and street vendors. Organised retail supermarkets are small but growing. The retail market in India undergoing fundamental change driven by the demographic shift with more than 50% of its population below the age of 25, rising disposable income, urbanization and blurring boundaries between offline and online worlds. The retail reforms and changes in the FDI policy have
The retail industry is expected to reach to US$ 1 trillion by 2020, attaining a CAGR of 10.76 per cent between 2015-2020.
opened the Indian retail market for international behemoths. With 100% FDI allowed in single-brand retail and go-ahead to start online channel without any approvals, the competition from international players to home-grown retailers has further intensified.
There’s a growing need to reinvent the retailer’s supply chain to support the changing market dynamics, specifically in warehousing with significant technological advancements happening in the automation space. What challenges Indian retailers face in their supply chain? What are the key trends impacting the Indian retail industry and supply chain process in retail? How can warehousing automation help retailers address challenges?
All the above trends have led to highly complex supply chain and warehousing processes that have increased challenges and costs of managing supply chain for retailers.
Components of a typical supply chain
• Vendor - Supplier of raw material, semi-finished goods or finished goods • Factory - Finished goods are manufactured in the factory
• Primary Warehouse/distribution Centre - Finished goods are stored in this warehouse and are ready for distribution.
• Secondary Warehouse/depots - Finished goods arrive at regional warehouses (through stock transfer) and are ready for sales order dispatches to distributors/stores
• Stores - Actual sales of nished goods happens at the store
Scenario 1: In this case, vendors manufacture the finished goods as per the retailers specifications and supply the finished goods to the retailers (ready for sale).
Scenario 2: In this case, the vendors provide the raw materials for producing the finished goods to the retailers at their factory. There could be multiple vendors providing raw materials to the factory. The factories then process the raw materials and manufacture the finished goods that are ready for sale.
Typical Retail Warehouse Operations
• Unloading from truck
• Palletization & External Verification
• Move to Staging Area
• 100% Units Stan
• Apply LPN
• Scan Location, LPN & Confirm Put-away/grn
• HHT Allocation to Picker – (Order Based Picking)
• HHT Navigates picker to Pick location
• Picker Scans location, SKU & Picks Qty displayed on HHT
• 100% Units Scan
• Tape, Strap & Outbound VAS
• Bring material to Processing Area on each level
• Move to dispatch bay –Zone wise Staging
• Unloading from truck
• Palletization & External Verification
• Quality Check
• 100% Units Scan & Sorting
• System Guided Put-away based on QC
• Put-away Confirmation
Challenges in Retail Supply Chain
• High Number of Touch points
• Fragmented Supply Chain
• SKU Volume and Variability
• Unfavorable Regulatory Environment
• Shortage of skilled Manpower
Shortage of Skilled Manpower
While India is the second largest populated country in the world, shortage of skilled manpower is a big challenge for Indian retailers. The high attrition rate within the retail sector further increases problems
The retail supply chain is highly fragmented. This leads to retailers having limited visibility over inventory and facing issues with demand forecasts and inventory management. Large number of intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers further increase complexity in managing retail supply chain.
for the retailers, as there is time and cost involved in training the manpower. The socio-cultural mindset makes a career in the retail warehouses and distribution centers an unattractive option for skilled youth. The poor working conditions within the warehouses also make it an unappealing career choice. Non-availability of niche courses and absence of institutionalized training infrastructure in retail supply chain has resulted in significant skill gap within the retail industry.
Fragmented Supply Chain
The retail supply chain is highly fragmented. This leads to retailers having limited visibility over inventory and facing issues with demand forecasts and inventory management. Large number of intermediaries between manufacturers and retailers further increase complexity in managing retail supply chain. This often leads to excess inventory and stock losses, resulting in high costs of supply chain.
SKU Volume and Variability
Most retailers have to deal with huge volumes of thousand of SKUS. Variability in SKU demand further adds to the complexity of retailers’ supply chains. This leads to several challenges for the retailers including incorrect forecasts, insufficient or excessive inventory and poor customer experience due to non-availability of products at the right place at the right time. For multi-brand retailers, the problem is even more complex, requiring coordination with multiple suppliers and vendors.
High Number of Touchpoints
Retailers’ supply chain is a complex one with many intermediaries, resulting in high number of touchpoints. Each touchpoint means increased human intervention leading to increased wait time, pilferage, stock loses and inventory wastage. Supply chain automation reduces the possible number of touchpoints. It not only accelerates delivery of product to the retail store and to consumers, but also helps in reducing pilferage and picking errors in the supply chain.
Challenges for Big Box retailers
The changes in the FDI policy have opened up retail market in India to many international retail brands. Large number of big box retailers with successful international operations have launched or are in the process of launching operations in India. They face some unique set of challenges, while setting up their stores here. IKEA is one such leading big box retailer. The IKEA Group is the first major single brand retailer to be given FDI approval to set up retail operations in India and is in the process of setting up their stores.
How Automation will Help
Handling Large Number of SKUS and Orders: Handling a large number of SKUS and orders
For a multi-brand retailer like us, number of SKUS is really large and the SKUS itself keep on changing and that makes it all the more complex. — Yakeen Gazi Sr. V.P. - IT & Logistics - Hypercity Retail (India) Ltd
IKEA is obsessed with creating low prices and to be affordable for the many people. Being a single brand big format retailer that produces products globally in many countries, adding labels with country-specific requirements (eg. MRPS) manually adds to costs and is a challenge operationally and interrupts our global supply chain.
— Bimal Patel Distribution Establishment Manager India, IKEA
The availability of skilled manpower is one of the key challenges the warehouse industry faces. — Gurpreet Sandhu Head - Supply Chain & Replenishment, Aditya Birla Retail Limited
is typically a manual process that requires large workforce within the warehouse premises. Absenteeism, attrition, labour unions and shortage of skilled manpower can hamper such operations, leading to shortages, put-away/picking errors and loss of profit arising from incomplete orders. Automation helps in managing large number of SKUS and fulfilling multiple orders simultaneously.
Cutting-down Touch Points and Picking Errors: A manual warehousing operation has large number of touchpoints, and therefore, is prone to picking errors. By adding automation, the number of touch points can be reduced with less manual intervention, thereby, reducing picking errors.
Increase Warehouse Eciency: Automation helps increase the overall efficiency of the warehouse by ensuring all processes are system directed. It also enables carrying out of simultaneous tasks, while streamlining the processes inside a warehouse.
Improve Manpower Productivity: Automation enables existing manpower to handle multiple orders efficiently thus increasing their productivity. Since all processes are system directed, highly trained manpower is not required to manage the automated processes.
Dynamically Managing Changing Requirements: In a traditional warehouse, storage spaces are usually static and change in the configuration of the storage can lead to a complete change in warehouse zoning and in backend systems. Automation can help store goods dynamically which are managed by mobile units and a Warehouse Control System (WCS), making it easier to handle dynamically changing requirements that are typical to a retail operation.
Reducing Warehouse Footprint: Automation helps make the storage space more efficient by better allocation of space, denser storage and lesser aisle space. It also helps manage inventory more efficiently and therefore, helps in reducing the days of inventory stored in a warehouse.
Shortening Order Fulfilment Time: Automation can help handle multiple orders thus reducing the window of order handling and order fulfilment time and helping the warehouse increase throughput. With GST now in force, warehouses will typically
handle a large number of orders and this can be enabled by leveraging automation.
Complexities Involved in Automation
• Inexible and Non-expandable
• Return on Invetment
• Change Management
• Lack of awareness Lack of Awareness: Low awareness of available automation solutions is one of the primary reasons for poor automation adoption within retail supply chain industry in India. There is a strong need for companies like Grey Orange to invest in online and offline marketing channels to create awareness of such solutions and how automation solutions can help retailers overcome supply chain and warehousing challenges for retailers. Automation of repetitive tasks in warehouse allows managers and operators to focus on more complex, valuedriven tasks that help organizations meet their business objective. Change Management: Changing people’s mindset and driving them to use automation is another big challenge in adopting supply chain automation in the Indian retail industry. Many organizations face resistance from current employees, who think automation would take away their jobs. Technological change and automation solutions also bring along the cultural shift that requires people to change the way they work and train themselves to use new processes. The management needs to make the staff aware of the benefits of automation and how automation will help them overcome some their challenges. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI is the most critical parameter for organizations to decide whether to go for automation. Without a compelling ROI, organizations are reluctant to invest in automation. The executives expect a payback period of less than 24-36 months for warehouse automation. Inflexible and Non-expandable: Most retail organizations think that warehouse automation solutions are not scalable to support the business growth. Automation once installed in a warehouse remains fixed and cannot change dynamically, as the business requirements change. Also, automation is not flexible to support peaks in demand. However, it’s a myth. Automation technologies available today are agile and scalable to meet the future demands of organizations.
With the advent of e-commerce, the only way forward to process a high volume of orders is to implement automation in the warehouses using modern sortation systems. — Devdas Nair Head - Logistics & SCM, Shoppers Stop