- 85% of retailers in the U.S. still rely on manual methods within their supply chain and have yet to digitize the entire process from the consumer to the company, according to a survey by Gravity Supply Chain Solutions, which creates digital supply chain products.
- 54% of 500 respondents said improved customer experience was the main benefit of digitization, allowing customers to better track products and creating a more personal experience, respondents said.
- The cost was considered the biggest roadblock to digitization for both those who had begun the process and those still working with manual processes. Integration of various systems was considered a major challenge for more than 40% of respondents who had either started or completed their digitization.
Increasing digitization within a supply chain means greater visibility for both the customer and the company. It can provide real-time data that allow people to make faster decisions and lead to lower operations costs, according to 47% of the respondents.
"This highlights that the concept of supply chain digitization is widely recognized as a positive in the retail industry, that enables a shift in strategy from supply chain as purely a cost center to a driver of profit and competitive advantage," the report reads.
Many companies are working in a hybrid environment with manual and digital processes, but this comes with its own headaches. 45% of those with a hybrid ecosystem said tracking products in spreadsheets is a pain point.
It could still be some time before companies finish their transformations from manual to digital supply chains. 29% of those still using manual processes said they don't expect their supply chain to be fully digitized for another five or more years.
The survey respondents were 500 retail executives from the U.S. and U.K. 77% of respondents were working at specialty retailers, 15% at supermarkets and 15% at department stores.