Which retailers are leading the way in supply chain?

Supply Chain 2014-2015Based on the findings of our research report with Retail Week we look at what supply chain teams think of their peers and who they think are leading the way.

As published in Retail Week & DWF Supply Chain: Trends and Innovations in Retail 2014-15 report

In our recent research with Retail Week we asked Supply Chain Directors at some of the UK’s top retailers ‘which retailers are leading the way in supply chain?’


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While what is the perfect supply chain solution for one retailer may not be for another, the supply chain directors interviewed for this report were willing to nominate which retailers they believe to be leading the way in supply chain management. The two runaway leaders in this straw poll are Amazon and John Lewis, followed by Next and Zara.

One supply chain boss interviewed commends Amazon for the way it makes shopping “so easy for the customers”, while another applauds the retailer’s user-friendly qualities. “Their supply chain is fantastic and they make buying so easy,” he says.

Respect for Amazon and acknowledgment of its strengths is slightly grudging on the part of some of the supply chain heads, which is perhaps not surprising given that Amazon has taken market share from virtually every corner of the UK retail sector.

A supply chain director at a major retail group typifies a certain reluctant admiration. “It would be remiss of me not to mention Amazon because despite the fact that most people say they don’t like them, and we don’t like them because they are key competitors of ours, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t shop Amazon. I shop Amazon because it’s so efficient and their range is second to none.”

As for John Lewis, the same executive also nominated the department store chain for the way the retailer had “driven their omnichannel fulfilment capability” and maintained a “fantastic customer proposition”. Next’s supply chain is simply “super efficient”, adds the distribution director of a department store operator.

Meanwhile, Zara’s supply chain is singled out for its sourcing capability.

“Zara does have a unique sourcing model. And frankly I don’t think their sourcing can get any better than it is,” says the logistics director of a fashion retailer. Zara is “very good at bringing their stock in”, the supply chain head of a fashion retailer adds.

Watch out for our next blog post which will look at moving towards an omnichannel supply chain.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Hilary Ross Partner & Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality sector.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Want to know what some of the UK’s top retailers’ supply chain and legal teams think will be key innovations and issues in 2015?

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Hilary Ross

Executive Partner (London) - Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality

Recognised by The Lawyer as one of the UK’s Top 100 lawyers, I advise clients on compliance and challenges across the EU in relation to products, systems and safety.

Dominic Watkins

Partner - Head of Food Group

I am Head of DWF’s internationally renowned food sector group as well as being Head of Regulatory in London.

Ed Meikle

Partner - Head of Retail Group

I advise on all aspects of intellectual property law, especially advising businesses in retail, food, sport and consumer products on the development, commercialisation and protection of their brands and technology.