Retailers reviewing best practices

Retailers reviewing best practices

Five major retailers have organized what they describe as the largest review ever of supply-chain best practices in the retail industry.

Supply-chain executives from Best Buy, The Home Depot, OfficeMax, Rite Aid Corp. and Target Stores are directing the study, which has already enlisted more than 50 retailers representing more than $600 billion in annual sales. Participating companies operate more than 80,000 retail outlets and employ more than 3.8 million people.

"Rite Aid has chosen to participate because we are interested in getting factual information that is actionable. This process is very detail-oriented and will give us the ability to look at a wide range of metrics and operational areas," said Wilson Lester, senior vice president, supply chain, at Rite Aid.

The organizers are seeking more participants in order to get a large baseline from which the retailers can draw comparisons. "There is a lot of valuable information out there. It needs to be shared. We all need to learn from each other," said Wayne Bourne, vice president of transportation, Best Buy.

Companies that participate will be able to compare their operations with those of other retailers after the study is completed. Questions in the study were developed by retailers for retailers.

The first phase of the review, now underway, is an online interview process collecting in-depth information on hundreds of supply-chain processes, performance metrics and trends. The online interview will be followed by a series of regional meetings where participants can add their insights to the information collected.

The program's broad initial enrollment will ensure participants have opportunities to compare "apples to apples" and draw conclusions from similar operations as well as gain insights from innovators exploring out-of-the-box thinking, the organizers say.

A series of final reports with summarized data and analyses will be provided to all retailers who have fully participated in the information-gathering phase of the review.

Responses of individual respondents will be kept absolutely confidential. To ensure confidentiality, Percite Solutions, a supply-chain consulting firm is facilitating all facets of the review. Only information aggregated across many companies will be shared with participants.

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