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Conference Coverage: More Collaboration Needed Between Retailers and Manufacturers

September 28, 2011
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Manufacturers and retailers need to work more closely together to reach agreements on issues such as standardization, sustainability and innovation, according to a survey presented by Kathy Weber, vice president of the Wilton, Conn.-based research firm Kantar Retail, at FMI’s Private Brands Summit in Chicago Tuesday.

 

“According to the data, manufacturers and retailers are not talking to each other and don’t trust each other enough to lay all their cards on the table,” she explains.

 

For instance, manufacturers would like more standardized data forecasts from retailers so that they can better manage their supply chain. “There needs to be more true cost transparency between both parties. There is a need in the industry to share data as much as is appropriate and possible,” says Weber.

 

Retailers want to see more consistent industry guidelines for food and product safety as well. “This is an industry-wide opportunity for collaboration between manufacturers and retailers,” she says.

 

The issue of collaboration on innovation and differentiation within each category represents a key opportunity, according to the study. “Competitive issue sensitivities exist on both sides. Retailers and manufacturers must determine how much they trust their business partners and how much confidential information they are willing to share,” she explains.

 

The firm conducted an online survey earlier this year of 350 manufacturers and retailers, with respondents from all levels of retail and wholesale management, to gauge the attitudes and needs of retailers and suppliers in the private label industry.

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