Supply chain management lessons learned from Target Canada

When failures within the supply chain occur, certain important lessons can often be gleaned. It is important to take a step back and see what could have been done to circumnavigate or prevent these issues entirely. This is the kind of lesson that Target Canada learned when it opened its doors in February 2013 — and subsequently closed them not long after. According to Canadian Business contributor Joe Castaldo, the retailer had major issues with its outposts in the Great White North.

“One of the biggest issues was the use, or misuse, of technology.”

The company’s Canadian presence was plagued with difficulties from the start. Even before the grand opening of Target Canada, managers explained that the systems in place were not working. In many cases, the company’s supply chain was breaking down — moving products from distribution centers to the stores themselves turned out to be a significant issue.

“Worse, the technology governing inventory and sales was new to the organization; no one seemed to fully understand how it all worked,” Castaldo wrote. “The 750 employees at the Mississauga head office had worked furiously for a year to get up and running, and nerves were beginning to fray.”

As Castaldo stated, one of the biggest issues that Target Canada faced was the use, or misuse, of technology within its operations — the solution chosen proved to be too cumbersome for employees to learn in the relatively short amount of time before launch.

What can organizations do differently?

Poor planning within the supply chain and breakdowns in logistics management create situations like the one experienced by Target Canada. In these circumstances, it’s crucial for operators to look back and see what they can learn from their mistakes. What could they have done differently? What do they need to ensure it does not happen again?

In order to avoid supply chain failures brought on by poor planning, managers need to be prepared. According to Supply & Demand Chain Executive contributor Gary Barraco, there are four important elements that need to be present in order to negate unfortunate situations within the supply chain:

  • Visibility
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration
  • Control

With these four elements in hand, supply chain managers can better mitigate current and future challenges. This is Inspirage can help. Our Supply Chain Management and Logistics Management solutions, ensure organizations have the oversight necessary – along with the visibility, flexibility, collaboration and control – to make decisions about the long-term health of their supply chains.

Contact Inspirage today to find out more about how our supply chain management and logistic management solutions can improve planning on all counts and help make sure manufacturing and distribution operations run as smoothly as possible.

Shauna Hillier

Shauna Hillier | Key Contributor

Shauna is a functional consultant with a broad range of expertise in the delivery of high-quality business solutions. With over 9 years’ experience managing domestic and international logistics operations for road, rail, ocean and air shipments, she has an excellent grasp of industry best practices. Coming from a dual role as Transport Manager and Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) Super User, she brings in-depth understanding of the systems, personnel, and change management requirements for successful software implementation.