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HUB-Supply Chain Retail Industry Updates Supply Chain Industry Updates

Sure, Dinosaurs Were Cool, But There’s a Reason They’re In Museums Now

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Don’t let this happen to you. (iStock/Kirkikis)

As consumers, we’re all too used to the “going out of business” signs in store windows. That’s a surefire (if sad) way to tell a company’s best days are long behind it, but it’s a little like visiting the doctor after a gangrenous limb has fallen off. Probably should have noticed a little sooner, right?

Of course, there are better ways to gauge a retailer’s health before things get out of hand, and some of the tell-tale symptoms relate directly to its supply chain. In a recent Forbes blog, writer Niall Murphy lists three signs that investors, consumers and you should look for.

“There have been 43 U.S. retail bankruptcies as of Aug. 1, according to CNBC,” he noted. “An industry commentator … estimated half of independent fashion brands may not make it to 2021.” Murphy likened the situation to a certain asteroid that visited the Earth 65 million years ago. The big and (allegedly) slow-moving dinosaurs couldn’t hack the paradigm shift, and our small but agile mammal ancestors slowly took charge, some armed with opposable thumbs and spreadsheets.

Here’s how to tell a retail dinosaur from a more-adaptable mammal, according to Murphy:

  1. Can it “rapidly dial up” its e-commerce infrastructure? — Lululemon is among companies that are “new-world ready,” Murphy judged, as demonstrated by its recent acquisition of fitness startup Mirror. This “will allow Lululemon to deepen its relationships with customers and expand its brand community through new experiential commerce models that leverage its online infrastructure.”
  2. Is its supply chain digitized? — No? Then it might have trouble adjusting to the drastic supply and demand shifts of the COVID-19 era.
  3. Are its digital capabilities integrated across both the retail and supply sides? — H&M is one retailer that seems to understand this at the highest levels, Murphy noted. That “bodes well for H&M’s ability to leverage its might and scale with nimbleness and agility through data-driven technologies.”

So, at the risk of extending the metaphor a little further, it might turn out that some big but agile companies like H&M are the “birds” in our tale — like dinosaurs, but much more adaptable.

Where would you classify your organization: dinosaur, mammal (or bird)? The answer might help you predict whether you’ll still be in business in 2021 … or on display at the natural history museum.

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