It may come as an unpleasant surprise that competing KPIs are destroying value across the supply chain. However, the short-sighted fixation on resolving specific, isolated challenges leaves retailers blind to the reality that approaching supply chain challenges with a synchronized “end-to-end” strategy unlocks unseen potential for company KPIs more efficiently and powerfully than the “my-end-to-your-end” view that many solutions providers currently privilege.

In this context, “end-to-end” describes a holistic approach to identifying and solving supply chain hiccups in one link in the chain and considering how this might affect every other link in the same chain. By rethinking the supply chain as circular and interoperable (like a bicycle chain) instead of linear and distinct, retailers can link their siloed parties with solutions that work together for a more cohesive supply chain that delivers increased control, through sight, and thoroughly optimized KPIs.

Blue Yonder’s Four Strategic Goals for an Interoperable, End-to-End Supply Chain

What does breaking down silos look like in the supply chain? The solution lies in focusing on business outcomes rather than competing KPIs across different areas. This outcomes-oriented approach can be broken down into four pillar goals: 1) faster planning, 2) more memorable experiences, 3) building customer trust, and 4) moving and storing goods as efficiently as possible. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of each of these goals.

Accelerated Planning

Every area in the supply chain is invested in accelerating its own plans and meeting its own KPIs already, but there’s no point in innovating and optimizing one area of planning if stakeholders are not considering the ripple effect in other areas. The effect is one of picking up the pace only to trip on one’s own coattails.

The solution to this challenge does not, however, lie in resolving KPI competition between links in the supply chain with point solutions. Instead, the supply chain stands to benefit from an ecosystem approach that creates greater bilateral visibility and collaboration from one end of the chain to the other.

Optimizing and accelerating retail planning only truly speeds things up if all areas of planning (from demand, financial, assortment, and allocation planning) are in step with each other on a shared journey of improving KPIs.

Creating Lasting and Memorable Experiences

We know we’re preaching to the choir when we remind readers that customer experience is a powerful key to making more sales, but future trends indicate that retailers will need to up the ante to meet expectations. In an article detailing its 2024 retail predictions, the National Retail Federation warned retailers that shopper expectations for experiential shopping “are elevated and moving toward lofty.”

While elevating customer experiences is a top priority, this can and should be achieved with a holistic, end-to-end approach to amplifying retail experiences. Unifying data housing, space planning, demand, replenishment, and labor is a robust strategy for laying the foundations for more positive experiences from one far end of the supply chain to the other (and higher sales).

Strengthening Customer Trust

Elevating shopping experiences starts with establishing a trust bond between retailers and customers. However, the age of digital shopping has introduced “the shopper that you cannot see,” posing unique challenges for retailers who must foster trust remotely — that is, without consumer contact with either the product or a salesperson. For this to happen, retailers must prioritize a careful and transparent orchestration of orders, labor, returns, and every other link in the supply chain.

In the purview of an interoperable supply chain, fostering shoppers’ trust does not start and end with commerce teams, especially when there is limited or no physical relationship between sales representatives, products, and shoppers. In the absence of a physical store experience, digital shoppers will look to trust indicators like clear order and delivery processes, as well as transparent return policies.

This has implications that reach far beyond commerce teams. For both the service promise and the order to be fulfilled, the entire supply chain needs to be reorganized to be orchestrated around customer expectations from end to end.

Moving and Storing Goods as Efficiently as Possible

Fulfillment is expensive — everyone knows that, and nobody feels it more than freight and logistics teams. But an important question to consider is, does it have to stay expensive? If this continues to be an accepted norm, retailers can expect to continue to watch last-mile and last-minute deliveries eat away at the margins.

If retail continues to optimize fulfillment in a silo, it will be impossible to end its insatiable appetite for leaking profit. The current state of the average supply chain sees merchandising obliviously toiling away in its own bubble, pulling whatever levers are available to it to push sales. Meanwhile, warehousing inadvertently deploys a counterweight by pulling levers to push trucks out. The result? A break between the links in the supply chain that opens up cracks for profit to leak through.

Fortunately, the digital maturity of inventory, orders, and warehousing can have a profoundly positive effect not only on minimizing fulfillment costs, but also helping the supply chain to be more efficient, innovative, and targeted.

Connect Your Supply Chain With an End-to-End Solution

Reengineering the supply chain to be more interoperable, efficient, and profitable requires retailers to shift their focus away from competing KPIs and onto business outcomes: more agile planning, more compelling experiences, stronger trust relationships with customers, and running a lean yet responsive logistics chain.

Schedule your strategy call with a Blue Yonder expert. They’ll explain how quickly you can implement and scale an end-to-end solution that turns tactical collaboration into a winning strategy.