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Clarkston’s Jenny McLean Discusses Retail Supply Chain Dynamics on The C-Suite Podcast

March 26, 2024  | Clarkston Partner and Implementation Consulting and Retail Industry Lead, Jenny McLean was a guest on The C-Suite Podcast for her expertise on retail trends, retail supply chain, and retail technology. See a summary of Jenny’s insights below, and listen to the podcast here

Retail Supply Chain Dynamics

In this conversation, Jenny unpacks the pivotal role of data analytics in demand forecasting and inventory planning. Jenny sheds light on the myriad technologies available to retailers and emphasizes the indispensable role of data quality, integration, and governance in harnessing the full potential of these tools. Drawing on insights from a recent discussion with the CEO of Reformation, Jenny highlights the significance of fostering a data-centric culture within organizations to drive effective forecasting processes. Transitioning to the challenge of adapting to rapidly evolving consumer trends, Jenny cites Shein as a prime example of a company that excels in aligning its supply chain with customer-centric strategies, emphasizing the importance of agility and innovation in meeting evolving consumer demands. Jenny elucidates how companies like Wayfair navigate complexities by fostering collaborative partnerships with suppliers, highlighting the critical role of data sharing, AI, and trust-building in optimizing supply chain operations.

Q: How do brands approach using advanced data and analytics to improve demand forecasting?

A: “There’s a wide and growing number of technologies out there. It’s a little bit overwhelming how many choices there are for retailers to consider, but what we have seen is when retailers find the right technology for them and they leverage it well, it can create incredible capabilities for them. But, I’ll also say that technology is not enough — and we see that over and over again. It’s also what you hear this a lot at this event — data integration, data quality, data governance, and the other thing is around the data culture, which creates a mindset shift.”

Q: Consumer demand and consumer-driven trends change quite rapidly. How do companies keep up and still manage to optimize demand forecasting plus their inventory planning.”

A: “We always say that retail moves so fast. It moves faster than other industries, and I’m pretty sure that it just keeps getting faster. So, what’s key to that is really staying customer-centric.” “The other thing we see is it’s also about matching the innovation cycle of a customer. Different retailers have different products which have different innovation cycles, so you have to move at the speed of that.”

 See the Podcast Here