Retail Realities: Navigating Through Madness

In a recent Talk Retail to Me podcast episode, Parker Avery Partner Randi Nolan discussed where most retailers are relative to their supply chain sustainability journey. Guest podcaster Mark Burstein of Logility joined the conversation and outlined initial steps in the roadmap to achieving sustainability maturity.

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Driven by new and upcoming legislation, as well as consumer pressure, sustainability is a certainly hot topic as the retail industry continues its post-pandemic transformation. With many retail and consumer goods executives’ focus shifting towards this imperative, without a doubt, sustainability should be included as a key element in their overall capabilities roadmap. But it is not the only element.

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Many of Parker Avery’s long-term client relationships are initiated by a project in which we work with companies to define a capabilities roadmap. This roadmap may be an early deliverable in a larger business transformation project or the outcome of a rapid diagnostic phase. There are many different varieties of roadmaps—many focused purely on technology, but our approach considers the holistic environment in which a retailer operates. Let’s break it down.

The Capabilities Roadmap Defined

A capabilities roadmap outlines the initiatives, dependencies, sequencing, investment, resources, etc. required to deliver meaningful value in achieving a company’s strategic business objectives. Our approach often involves a combination of business process design work, organizational/role definition activities, IT development, and/or selection of new technology.

The strategy or objectives may define revenue growth, margin optimization, inventory effectiveness, or just the desire to be at the forefront of innovation. However, a capabilities roadmap clarifies what, when, and how key improvements will support the strategy. The roadmap also confirms that the strategy is realistic and right-sized.

It is important to realize that not all strategic goals require a technology component. Some can be accomplished through a more simplified and clarified process that changes the way the organization thinks and executes. The overall point of the roadmap is to have a cohesive plan that has company leadership alignment.

Importance of a Capabilities Roadmap

We often see companies who must shift project priorities because they are not collectively thinking “big picture” and really do not have a comprehensive plan from which to work. Despite the media attention and executive focus on holistic commerce, seamless customer experiences, inventory transparency, sustainability, globalization, and advanced analytics, we still see many retailers not thinking cross-functionally but continuing to operate in silos.

Further, even with innovative technologies that enable much better standardization, collaboration, analytical capabilities, and the panacea of “one version of the truth” (with respect to data), too many brands are still winging it, being reactive—or simply hopeful. These reactions typically are the result of not having a clear vision of how the many corporate initiatives must be coordinated, prioritized, and executed to achieve a company’s desired capabilities.

Executing the Roadmap and Driving Engagement

A key tenet of a roadmap and the expected benefits is that business value does not appear magically as soon as a new capability is deployed. While we often define a set of ‘quick wins’—or short-term activities in the capabilities roadmap that will deliver results within the first 3 to 4 months—value realization takes time. It also takes focused attention on training, learning, and data cleansing, as well as making tweaks (and sometimes major adjustments) to existing systems or processes.

Further, engaging the impacted organizations from the very beginning of your roadmap journey with thorough and honest communications and executing a tailored change management plan is key to not only reaching the target but ensuring adoption and achieving sustainable results. This involves defining and then sharing a common vision throughout the company and enabling the team to not just come along for the ride but even help navigate the course at times.

Final Word

There is a cliché that says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” While many retailers may have a solid grasp on their future business objectives (where they want to go), it is paramount to also have a well-defined and realistic approach to achieving these goals (or how to get there). There are a variety of roadmap types. While many are focused purely on technology, our approach to building a capability roadmap considers the holistic environment in which a retailer or consumer goods company operates.

If you want to talk about how we can help you develop a capabilities roadmap for your company or potentially alter your existing route, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Let’s Talk Roadmaps


Amanda Astrologo, Partner

The Parker Avery Group is a leading retail and consumer goods consulting firm that transforms organizations and optimizes operational execution through development of competitive strategies, business process design, deep analytics expertise, change management leadership, and implementation of solutions that enable key capabilities.


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Published On: August 17, 2022Categories: Amanda Astrologo, Business Process Design & Transformation, Roadmap