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August 22, 2011

Nearly all discussion about retail success focuses on stores. Yet savvy retailers know the store is only a piece of the puzzle. The only way an operator can successfully compete is with a lean supply chain that keeps costs and those ever-important prices in line, while properly stocking shelves with goods.

Efficiency is a topic that’s getting attention these days for good reason. Economic issues loom large for shoppers, which in turn has them hunting for bargains with tremendous zeal. At the same time, a number of key commodity prices are rising (and promise to rise more) due to weather or simple competition for resources. The result is a squeeze on sales and profits for many retailers.

Luckily, the archives of the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council offer help. With more than three decades of studies available, retailers and wholesalers have ready sources of information dating back to the high inflation periods of the late 1970s and early 1980s, as well as economic downturns through the years.

One study that definitely merits a fresh look is New Ways to Take Costs Out of the Retail Food Pipeline from the early 1990s. It examines key steps all trading partners could follow to reduce inefficiency and waste throughout the supply chain.

Although the industry has changed significantly since the early 1990s, with many new companies in the market and, certainly, vast new technological tools, the search for efficiency is as strong as ever. In this report you can find excellent discussions about efficiency measures that will challenge you and your trading partners to make certain your cost structure is as low as it needs to be.

The simple reality is that waste and inefficiency damage businesses — so it’s never too late to give an important study a second look.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America