As consumers select fresh, prepared, and packaged groceries, some of the world’s most familiar brands are giving way to a growing preference for items that shoppers know to be from trusted sources, regardless of brand equity. Customers expect brand owners to not only know what is in each item; they expect the brand owner to know exactly when and where food ingredients originated.
Recent research conducted by Oracle Retail shows that more than 40 percent of consumers want assurance that the food they buy has been responsibly sourced. And nearly one in four consumers have set a product back on the shelf, abandoning the purchase, when there is not enough information to satisfy their concerns.
Providing insight to grocery products is challenging for manufacturers and retailers, either because the data is simply not available or it is impossible to access. The industry requires a renewed call for the type of openness and collaboration that led to Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment (CPFR) guidelines developed in recent decades. But this time we must lead efficiently and transparently to gain consumers’ trust regarding product characteristics, provenance, and safety.
Defining Success and Consumer Transparency: Five Essential Requirements
If your name is on the label, you have a responsibility to your customers to deliver transparency, accuracy, and details around the origins of those products. In a recent presentation delivered at the GFSI Conference in Houston, Oracle Retail outlined its recommendations for a joint, industry-wide move to a single IT structure for retail standards compliance and supply chain management data. This networking platform would serve as the standard point of entry for the retail supply chain, with open APIs to allow open interindustry communication. Our recommendation is shaped by five critical characteristics:
- COLLABORATIVE: In order to respond more efficiently and effectively to the consumer demand we face today, brand owners need to work hand-in-hand with all players in the supply chain and IT vendors, across an open API.
- REAL-TIME: The data needs to be up-to-date, trustworthy, and available at all times. Partners such as auditors must be able to access the platform in order to assess the information it contains and provide assurances about suppliers. Once armed with this information, brand owners must be able to share it readily both inside and outside their organizations, with employees and consumers.
- INDUSTRY-WIDE: To meet the transparency requirements of the market, there must be a single truth, a single point of reference. The platform must enable the easy addition of new partners and provide access to multiple users within and among organizations.
- INTUITIVE: The platform will be used by a wide range of people, from supply chain shipping clerks to retail staff, auditors, and compliance and legal professionals. Ease of use is imperative to address the range of skills across the network.
- EMPOWERING: A prime goal is to enable brand owners at any level, including retailers and manufacturers, to respond accurately and confidently to questions from consumers. It will be the collective responsibility of users throughout the supply chain to make certain that data on the platform is authoritative.
Empower the Market with a Win/Win Proposition
For many consumers, transparency to ingredients and sources has become the single most influential aspect of food purchasing decisions. In a highly-competitive marketplace, consumers’ desire for easy access to this type of supply chain insight provides grocery retailers and manufacturers an opportunity to differentiate their brand and to secure a higher level of customer loyalty.
Oracle Retail Brand Compliance Management Cloud Service enables brand owners the ability to see the things they don’t know about; the ingredients that make up a product and the origins of said ingredients. Couple this with a collaborative network that allows you to look at your supply chain multi-directionally to understand what else those origins are buying or producing, who is supplying them, and assess the impact of risk to your products. Brand owners can create a truly global, shared database of products, suppliers, and partners and provides all the above functionality, in terms of collaborative, open, industrywide, intuitive, and empowerment to retailers and their network.
Interested in Continuing the Conversation?
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This post was written and contributed by:
Oracle Retail Supply Chain Solutions