JiT – just in time for shop floor sales

The Sunday Business Post recently interviewed Ciaran Fitzpartick in relation to JiT retail solution. Below is the article in full.

The days of stock rooms as large as the shop floor are a thing of the past, with ambient restocking facilitated by just-in-time delivery. ADC Barcode is one of the companies behind the technology that keeps the stock moving.

Just-in-time (JiT) delivery is already here, helping to maximise retail floor space and keep supply chains running. “JiT has certainly become a viable option for Irish retailers in the last few years due to the major advancements that can be seen in modern e-commerce software,” said Ciaran Fitzpatrick, sales manager at ADC Barcode. “That being said, it is a massive undertaking to implement JiT, so as of now it is not as common as it could be.

Although, more and more, we are being approached by retailers to research how JiT could work for them.” Fitzpatrick said that in order to implement JiT it was essential to implement the right technological solutions. First and foremost, retailers need e-commerce software that can help them track and analyse the level of inventory available at suppliers and manufacturers in real time. “Modern solutions automate purchasing and receiving of inventory as customer orders are placed,” he said. “This makes inventory management much easier on the end of the retailer as the organisation doesn’t have to manually keep track of every purchase order, which was a very real problem and time-consuming task for merchants in the past.”

Critics of JiT have said that it either simply moves the warehouse to trucks, or reduces consumer choice. Fitzpatrick said these are mistaken views and that the razor-thin margins in retail mean retailers are desirous of any competitive advantage they can find. “Retail is an industry where your financials need to be lean and mean across the board. One of the biggest ancillary costs to a retailer is the inventory holding costs associated with housing excess stock, which has been ordered based on best-guess estimates or for that rainy day.

“Rent, electricity, water and other costly warehousing overhead costs can quickly swallow those margins even before the stock has hit the floor and had a chance to end up in your customer’s hands. A JiT system will cut out the need for large warehouses – or at the very least minimise the storage space required – which flows back to the bottom line of your business. “Yes, there will be costs associated with transport and deliveries, but it in no way compares to the cost of operating a large warehouse,”
he said.

Likewise, said Fitzpatrick, JiT doesn’t reduce consumer choice if implemented correctly. Instead it should increase choice, but ensuring the reduction of supply chain breakdowns. At the moment, ADC Barcode has found that Irish retailers are only investing in order tracking at warehouse level but that could change in the next year, with items
tracked right to the shelf. The adoption of technologies like RFID and the internet of things (IoT) is not only viable,
it is driven by customer expectations of speed.

As things stand, said Fitzpatrick, some retail sectors are ahead of others:
“One sub sector that comes to mind is jewellers. Large jewellery chains have been implementing JiT in the past couple of years,” he said. Presumably a sector that knows value when it sees it.

For more information on JiT Solutions, please contact ADC today!