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Going global: Feel the fear and just do it!

Only a few years ago, global retailing was regarded as the exclusive domain of only the largest of retailers. Now, trading on the internet has given heart to even mid-size companies who are following up their digital ambitions with physical stores, whether directly managed or through local partners.

This whole process has been accelerated by the lack of opportunities at home, as the economy continues to remain flat and recovery isn’t predictable in the short term.

With the confidence borne of trading online, (which in itself brings significant challenges in terms of language, culture, delivery, local regulations and customs barriers), retailers are now building supply chains that will service a growing store estate, which for some is highly dispersed. Retailers in this report are taking advantage of rapid growth in locations including Nairobi, Accra, Singapore, Bahrain and Brasilia.

Recognising the wider challenges, they are feeling the fear, but are doing it anyway. The supply chains the leaders are building now are agile, collaborative, transparent, all-embracing, and inclusive – able to bring in suppliers of all sizes and types.

The technical challenges inherent are significant, given that many traditional ERP systems cannot provide this level of flexibility and openness, but the model for a global, extended supply chain is well-established and demonstrating value for the companies looking beyond the flat home economy to new opportunities wherever they may lie.

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