SUNConferences, SAIIE NeXXXt

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Supply Chain Research in Retail
Petrus Louis Stemmet

Last modified: 2019-08-21


Global retail has gone through radical change in the past decade with online sales increasing every year and putting pressure on retailers to transform their businesses to keep up. In addition retailers have taken control of the secondary supply chain in the recent years. Retailers have built distribution centres (DCs) and now channel a large proportion of their product flows through their own warehouses.

Many of the supply chain challenges that retailers face have similarities with manufacturing, but the retail specific nuances result in a unique set of challenges that Retail Supply Chain Management (R-SCM) research needs to address. These include a mixture of several factors that impact R-SCM in a way that fundamentally changes the problem statement from those of manufacturers, such as:

  • Number of articles in the supply chain;
  • Number of stocking location;
  • Variety of assortment;
  • Extreme sales velocity differences;
  • Supply chain complexity; and
  • Long lead times.

In isolation each of these challenges seems no different to that of any other supply chain problem faced by manufacturers. The challenge that makes R-SCM unique is the way that these factors combine in a single supply chain, resulting in a problem that is more complex than the sum of its parts.

This paper will assess the nature and focus of R-SCM research conducted in the last 10 years. The objective will be to determine the extend to which SCM research has evolved to address the unique R-SCM challenges as well as to unpack the key themes emerging during this time.


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