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Global Logistics Focus Sept.21, 2015

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20A THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 21.2015 SPECIAL REPORT GLOBAL LOGISTICS FOCUS 2015 shoppers reporting a stock-out within the past year, 38 percent of the consum- ers surveyed said stock-outs happened often or very often, with 26 percent of online shoppers sharing that experi - ence. More than half — 55 percent — of in-store shoppers who suffered a stock- out became "lost sales," meaning they purchased the out-of-stock product elsewhere. "If you get someone to your store and what they want is unavailable, they're going to go to Plan B," Kefer said, not simply wait for the next delivery. True supply chain visibility will help retailers and other companies make bet- ter on-the-spot inventory decisions and mitigate the effects of crises such as the West Coast port labor dispute, which helped push up inventory levels in late 2014 and early this year. "Supply chains are hyper-exposed" to potential crises and events that could disrupt the flow of inventory, he said. "The port dispute is a classic example of a major thing that forces them to ratchet up inventory levels. One of the problems is companies don't have the kind of sys- tems that allow them to run an agile inventory. It's all a gigantic hairball." GT Nexus, of course, is one of the companies offering shippers a solution. Kefer argues the need for such solutions is evident in the survey numbers and the earnings reports of major retailers strug- gling to balance inventories and improve their supply chains. "Visibility" has been the Holy Grail of supply chain management for decades, but Kefer argues companies have used microscopes to focus in on their own operations when they really need tele- scopes that can give them a broad view. "What visibility is beginning to morph into is true end-to-end networkwide visibility," he said. "Everybody has to be looking at the same thing at the same time, and you really can't get that without Cloud." A utility-style computing model (think LinkedIn versus Outlook contacts) is taking hold, he said. "Once companies get that level of visibility, they're able to make smart decisions and begin to tackle multichannel problems." JOC Contact William B. Cassidy at and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy _joc. "SUPPLY CHAINS ARE HYPER-EXPOSED" TO POTENTIAL CRISES AND EVENTS THAT COULD DISRUPT THE FLOW OF INVENTORY.

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