- Bamboo Rose announced the results of a study Tuesday that surveyed 250 retail and supply chain professionals, finding that these professionals rely on outdated sourcing tools including Outlook, Excel and even handwritten notes.
- According to the survey, 63 percent of respondents rely on Outlook "as their go-to sourcing program," 72 percent rely on Excel to manage sourcing, and 50 percent rely on handwritten notes in their day-to-day work.
- Bamboo Rose, a digital B2B platform servicing the retail and supply chain industries, stated in its press release accompanying the survey results, that retailers should be using digital tools for sourcing, simply because they are more reliable, efficient and cost-effective.
Retail drives the supply chain. Innovations in managing the retail supply chain, including the use of technology for sourcing, often driven by behemoths like Walmart and Target, appear in supply chain protocols across many industries. While digital sourcing continues to gain traction, it was interesting to note in the Bamboo Rose survey that many retail companies are considered a bit behind the curve in their digital sourcing efforts.
But there is considerable hope in the survey results, and that centers on how one defines digital. While the Bamboo Rose survey considers digital sourcing as ‘a single communications platform for ongoing collaboration and inspiration’, retail companies are using increased technology to manage their supply chains. For some, the use of e-mail and spreadsheets indicates a digital approach, especially those transitioning from paper based systems. Rather than lamenting that 72 percent of respondents ‘are still using Excel’, it is comforting that three-quarters of them are using this powerful tool. It’s just a question of scale.
While digital sourcing would certainly automate processes, enhance communication and potentially speed time to market for some companies, the idea that it would transform, and potentially save the retail industry is somewhat overstated. The economic drivers and societal changes that are impacting the retail sector are complex and far-reaching, geared more to sociologists than sourcing chiefs.