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How Real Time Analytics on Retail Supply Chain Process can Protect You and Your Employees from COVID-19

Published on 17 August 2020
Retail Supply Chain Process
Shelley Schwartz
Retail Practice Lead

Shelley Schwartz is SAP Solution Architect for Applexus.  She has 20+ years of experience in software supporting retail and supply chain. A retail solutions leader, she has over 13 years of experience leading teams of SAP Retail solution experts--helping SAP’s customers transform their processes into Best Run businesses. Shelley has worked with customers from the retail, apparel/footwear, telecommunications, automotive industries in North America.

In the “new normal” with and after COVID-19, the safety of your employees and your customers is paramount.  Your company needs to address safety issues never before thought were needed.  Where is your supply coming from, is it a COVID-19 hotspot, what does that mean for your employees handling those goods?  Are there regulations that are now in place that must be managed during handling of merchandise due to COVID-19?

As we learn more about how the virus is carried and we prepare for a future that holds possibilities of more of these types of crises, most companies are trying to figure out how to manage their supply chains differently and how to enhance knowledge and safety for employees without undue costs.

Today’s environment requires you to look at how simple activities like receiving or customer/store deliveries should be different today.  If that merchandise came from a COVID-19 hot spot, should we handle it differently than other merchandise, should the supplier do special handling even before shipping?  How can I incorporate these kinds of questions and warnings into my inbound supply chain processes and through deliveries out to stores/customers?

Analytics as a Foundation

Knowing which of your suppliers are shipping from and which customers you are shipping to are in COVID-19 hot spots is a foundation for safety and regulatory compliance.  Analytics that include your supply chain partner and customer information along with COVID-19 geographical information on hot gives you the knowledge of which vendors may be shipping goods that need additional/special handling and which customers may need special handling during outgoing deliveries.

SAP Solutions for Special Processes

SAP Solutions can involve simply adding Value Added Services to Purchase orders due to the added risks.  Pop-up messages can be put on goods receipts or any inbound process in your warehouses on such merchandise to process differently.  Pop-ups for Sales Orders to customers who are in hot spots allow you to better manage risks on the outbound side.  Are there risks/regulations sending goods to some stores/customers in COVID-19 hot spots that you have to deal with? 

SAP’s ERP versions ECC to S/4 for Retail, Fashion and CP have the ability to add triggers for these kinds of safety questions both on incoming merchandise and outgoing deliveries to customers.  But linking those to knowledge of COVID-19 hot spots is a key to managing these processes for greatest safety most efficiently.

Already in a very difficult position because of COVID-19, you need to manage both your supply chain and customer base differently today.

You need both analytics that include your vendors and your customers and the COVID-19 areas are key.  You also need to execute and configure different messages at trigger points in SAP based on this information, in real-time. Applexus has solutions for both the analytics and execution based on how you want to manage your business in these times.

Applexus has ready-for-use analytics and a team of consultants, that can assist with helping you through this crisis more safely and more efficiently.

In the longer term, these solutions can be used on-going and in any type of crisis that would need analytics and triggers for users to understand higher risk points in the business processes they support.

About Applexus

Applexus Technologies (Applexus) is the global technology leader offering business consulting and SAP services to transform customers through digital innovation. We specialize in advisory, migration, implementation, and management of SAP S/4HANA and BW/4HANA solutions. Applexus delivers transformational business solutions for a marquee list of clients spanning retail, fashion, and consumer products industries. Applexus operates out of centers in North America, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and India. 

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