Target’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Mike McNamara, has brought it all to the table as far the company’s current top priorities, and it looks like all eyes are on supply chain and digital technology. Formerly the CIO of the UK’s Tesco chain, McNamara is very familiar with the strategy of using technology to tighten effectiveness in a supply chain. He recently spoke with Forbes about how he has seen the company’s supply chain change over time, and what he sees for the future.
“It is all about digital, number one, and supply chain number two,” McNamara explains to Forbes' Reporter Peter High when asked about his current focus. “The focus and the needs of our supply chain have changed massively over the last few years as direct to guest fulfillment has become more and more important. If you go back five to ten years, our distribution network and our whole supply chain was geared around sending full cases of product from distribution centers domestically to stores domestically.”
Now, he shares, the supply chain is more of what he calls "a network" where the company’s entire inventory is available to all its consumers all the time.
“We will ship from a point to a guest that makes the most economic sense, or gives the guest the shortest lead time. That means that the thing that was once linear is now a network.”
It’s no secret that Target has been seeking to give its supply chain practices a facelift in recent months. In May of this year, Reuters reported that a dozen suppliers confirmed that Target began demanding they assume more of the costs associated with marketing and selling slow-moving items, as well as cracking down on supplier relationships by tightening deadlines for deliveries and increasing fines for those who miss the deadline.
“The needs of our supply chain and the demands on our supply chain have changed massively over the last five or ten years, so we have a huge investment as a business into our supply chain not just from a technology point of view, but from a broader business point of view,” McNamara goes on in the interview.
The Target CIO also touched on digital several times during his interview with Forbes. With marketing shifting away from broadcast and television and towards more personalized approaches on smartphones and tablets, he calls keeping on the pulse of technology “a huge priority.”
For more from McNamara's interview with Forbes, where he touches on the company’s earlier data breach new technologies, and more, read the transcript here.