New research, released today by the UK Met Office, has revealed that almost half of retailers and suppliers (47%) rank the weather in the top three factors external to their business, which drives consumer demand. However, a third (32%) do not use any weather data within their supply chain and 17% rely on free weather data services.
The research – entitled Understanding the Role of Weather in the Supply Chain – looked at those who are currently using paid-for commercial weather services, and found that of these respondents, 62% reported they are able to offer better customer service, 57% highlighted better sales forecast accuracy, 51% had better on-shelf availability and 43% had reduced waste – all key priorities for supply chains.
The report also found that two-thirds (67%) of retailers think forecasting consumer demand has become harder, although there is a clear desire from supply chains to use weather forecasts more broadly within their businesses, particularly to drive commercial benefits – for example through forecasting footfall and online traffic, and planning marketing campaigns.
Barbara Napiorkowska-Dickson, Met Office retail business manager, commented: “The UK’s changeable weather means that it can have a significant impact on retail performance and retailers’ abilities to meet customer demands – for example ensuring they stock the right products for both good and adverse weather. If they miscalculate this, retailers risk losing millions through incorrect stock levels and disappointed customers. It can also impact the costs and efficiencies of the whole supply chain.”
In order to better understand the impact of the weather on shopper behaviour and supply chains, the Met Office spoke to IGD, a research and training body providing a wealth of information and best practice on the consumer goods industry worldwide. The Met Office has combined IGD’s research findings with its own research – which included speaking directly to senior supply chain experts – to draw out valuable insights and implications for the role of weather products in the industry.
The report has been shaped by the views of over 200 senior managers across more than 80 companies, to understand how they’re currently using weather products and data, how they plan to do so in the future and the impact of the weather on their supply chain.
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