Too many tools spoil the broth

10th November 2016
From Sian Duddy

Dropbox. Google Docs. Outlook. There is no shortage of tools retailers and suppliers can use to work together on the development of new private label products. But employing a patchwork of different methods will often result in data that is difficult to share and compare. Advanced private-label-specific software platforms can provide a much more efficient way to communicate – delivering the efficiency so many stakeholders are looking for.

In our recent survey, “12 Truths about Private Label Success”, the vast majority of retailers and suppliers (75%) said they were still using generic tools to exchange information. For 56%, such tools are the primary mode of supply chain communication. More than half (53%) said they were still using offline tools – such as direct mail and spreadsheets – with 26% using them as their primary mode of communication.

In order to make this work, retailers have needed to create their own approach – and all too often, the data that comes out of this is inadequate and uncontrolled.


Stakeholders are having a hard time making comparisons. Reporting isn’t as straightforward as it could be. Valuable product information is getting lost. Communication is marked by disconnection and fragmentation – and both efficiency and productivity can suffer as a result.

It’s the opposite of what private label stakeholders actually want.

Our survey was clear: cost control (57%) and speed to market (53%) were cited by retailers and suppliers as their top challenges. Both go hand-in-hand, of course, since the faster a product’s speed to market, the less it costs to get to market. Both can be achieved with much greater ease if supply chain communications are fully integrated and streamlined – rather than based on a patchwork of tools.

The private label market continues to be marked by intense competition and economic uncertainty. However, with almost half of survey respondents saying their product development is inhibited by the use of generic and offline tools, there is, it seems, plenty of potential for stakeholders to up their game and take better advantage of the opportunity private label offers their business.








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