Supply + Demand

The newfound glamour of supply chain management extends to retail technology as well. In a recent benchmark study titled “Global CIO Outlook for Retail Technology 2002,” conducted by PwC Consulting (acquired by IBM in October) and Executive Technology magazine, 71 respondents, all CIOs or other heads of IT at leading global retail firms, ranked supply chain investments among their leading priorities for next year. Merchandising/inventory systems hit the top of the list for 47.9% of the respondents, followed by in-store technologies (23.9%), IT infrastructure (9.9%), and multichannel integration (4.2%).

Distribution centers are also receiving increased attention. Thirty-one percent of CIOs consider warehouse productivity a top concern. RFID is slowly gaining a foothold; 14.1% of the respondents have already implemented it, whereas 16.9% plan to invest in it by 2004. There’s good news for warehouse system vendors: DC execs show an overwhelming preference for packaged applications over custom systems. Of the respondents, 73.2% use packaged software, up from 45% just a year ago, pushing down the percentage of retailers who use custom solutions to 22.5% from 31% last year.

For more information, contact Timothy Blair of IBM Business Consulting Services at (914) 945-2409.

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