Recently, like many parents across the globe, my wife and I sent our child (a.k.a. “young adult”) off to college. Our daughter will be studying Psychology and Spanish. Anyone who has sent a young adult to college knows there are a bunch of items Freshmen require in order to live comfortably in a dorm or apartment. Being a technical person, I was not sought out to assist in procuring fashion related items (bedspreads, towels, rugs, wall decorations), but was instead assigned to the refrigerator and microwave end of the spectrum.
I dug into my assignment with gusto and naivety. Not having purchased small appliances in quite a few years, I was unaware that these products come in many different sizes, with a bewildering variety of features and price points. Dorm refrigerators and microwaves can be bought from a variety of retailers, both online and in-store. By the number of ads and sales I was pummeled with it became clear that every one of these retailers knew that I would be needing these products in the next few weeks.
Being a supply chain guy as well as a dad, I got to thinking about the challenges manufacturers of durable goods now face (Read more about these challenges in the white paper: Five Supply Chain Threats Facing the Consumer Durable Goods Industry). Global competition, new product introductions, SKU proliferation, multi-channel distribution, rising customer expectations, seasonal demand…it prompts one to consider what supply chain actions durable goods companies should put in place to pass their final exam, the bottom line.