ERA partners with British Retail Consortium to help its members beat supply chain issues

Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), a UK-wide network of specialist procurement advisors, has announced a partnership with the BRC. The partnership comes as the retail sector struggles to cope with a difficult time, economically and culturally. With the rise of e-commerce – one in every ten pounds spent is now online according to KPMG and the BRC – the high-street is suffering a steady decline in sales and is frequently referred to as a "showroom".

As the point of sale shifts from offline to online, it's important that retailers consider making supply chain changes a priority. Retailers such as Argos, which has announced plans to reposition itself as a 'digitally-led business' by scrapping printed catalogues, are investing in online strategies in the face of falling sales and profits.

Previously, back room supply chain processes have been given little or no attention. But shipping costs are increasing, global weather changes are causing price hikes and the economy is fragile. Scrutinising forgotten areas, such as utilities, logistics, delivery, packaging stock transfer and waste revenue streams such as cardboard, has the potential to save a brand from disappearing into a black hole.

'Taking the traditional high-street supply chain and slotting it into an online business model simply isn't enough. The online supply chain must be built with the requirements of a different customer base in mind,' said Tony Wilcock, senior retail consultant, ERA. 'The one consistent factor is the customer expectation for unrivalled customer service and value for money. Without the right supply chain in place, these are difficult challenges to meet.'

Stephen Robertson, director general, BRC, commented: 'For many, online sales are still in their infancy, while more established online channels are driving over a fifth of total sales for others. It's essential that the supply chain is fit for purpose. However, the resource is rarely available for businesses to dedicate the time required to ensure this is the case. This is why the BRC and ERA partnership is so significant.

We are very proud to partner with such a renowned group of experts whose collective understanding of supply chain procurement can have real impact on bottom line profit and internal efficiency through smarter spending.'

The BRC and ERA partnership offers retailers the opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge on how to spend more effectively, ensure cost management within the supply chain is a priority and at the same time save them money. Beyond simply focusing on saving money, ERA's team of consultants provide analysis, advice and support enabling retailers to integrate cost management and smarter spending into the organisation's strategic planning.

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