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Consumer electronics and office equipment companies must react quickly to volatile supply and demand conditions. Rapid changes in technology compress product lifecycles. Many products last less than a year, with production cycles of only three months. Consumers have their pick of a large variety of new and existing products that are being aggres- sively marketed. It’s difficult to predict what they will choose to buy. Frequent retailer and manufacturer promotions disrupt buying patterns and put downward pressure on prices. Poor forecast accuracy can lead to excess inventory or write-offs. Or it can lead to stock-outs, resulting in lost sales and poor customer service. Adding to the uncertainty is accelerating growth in the Asia-Pacific region. This growth extends and strains supply chains, which can affect delivery reliability and increase risks.
To achieve success in this kind of environment, all members of the supply chain need visibility into current and future events, along with the means to work together to solve problems and deal with delivery constraints as they arise. Therefore, it’s not surprising that retailers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been cooperating for years on programs such as vendor-managed inventory (VMI) and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR). l