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AR to Big Data: how to maximise the potential of the next-gen supply chain

As distributors, it is our duty to ensure that we are maximising the range of next-gen technology that can help us improve our services for our clients. Whether it be the forecasting capabilities of Big Data or the impact mobile technology could have on the last mile, we need to make sure we are adopting and integrating new technology in a way that works best both for us and our clients. At Westcoast Retail, we are always adapting and incorporating new technology into our services while remaining aware that a one size fits all approach isn’t always the most beneficial.

See below for our take on five key areas of the next-gen supply chain from Westcoast Retail MD, Carl Oxley, and please get in touch if you’re interested in further comment/opinion.

  1. AR

“AR is the future of the in-store layout, allowing for vast improvements in choice and ease of purchase for consumers. Its benefits, however, are going to be incremental, as there isn’t currently the return on investment for retailers. What this means for the next few years for consumers is that there will be small scale changes appearing. An example that we will most likely begin to see is singular POS displays to be presented via AR in-store, due to the ease with which they can be changed and updated with new products.”

  1. Mobile

“Encouraging the rise in use of mobile technology by both distributors and consumers is key to cutting down on missed deliveries and maximise first time success. At Westcoast Retail, we integrate various apps into our services and are working with delivery companies to improve their usability and really prove their value to consumers. As long as we continue to see further investment from our side and increasing adoption from the consumers, mobile technology will help us further improve the success of the last mile.”

  1. Autonomous logistics

“The use of drones in the supply chain is currently little more than a marketing stunt, and there isn’t currently anything distributed by Westcoast, the parent company of Westcoast Retail, that warrants its adoption. However, this will no doubt change, and I wouldn’t be surprised if drones do eventually become key tools for both brands and distributors.”

  1. Big Data

“Moving forward, a better understanding of Big Data by companies in the logistics industry is going to improve its efficiency and really emphasise its worth, notably in areas such as forecasting and analysing customer buying patterns. Until then, the human experience of staff working in-store is going to continue to be important in our decision making. This is of particular value to us at Westcoast Retail, and continues to prove its worth alongside Big Data in delivering a second to none service for our clients.”

  1. General next-gen

“At Westcoast Retail, we see the next-gen supply chain as all about commoditisation to simplify our services. One of our key pillars is flexibility, which means that our offering is more desirable. For example, this may include providing consumers with data/information on products and making sure that data is applicable and has value. No matter the new technologies that may be applied, the key for us is to ensure it simplifies the process and results in the best service possible for everyone involved.”