Helping retailers transform to the digital age

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Hamish Brewer, chief executive officer of JDA Software Group Inc., is helping retailers transition to the online sphere. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

Hamish Brewer, chief executive officer of JDA Software Group Inc., is helping retailers transition to the online sphere. PHOTO BY RUY MARTINEZ

Just how does one shop nowadays? If you ask people around, they will tell you they go to malls and to the grocery to purchase. But a growing number would do some of their shopping online. This is true especially in the United States and Europe, where a significant number of consumers rely on shopping online for their needs. In fact, there is $1.5 trillion in the US setting in this new business of supply chain. And the trend is now global.

In a vastly consumer-driven market like the Philippines, the way people shop is still seen as largely traditional. People go to the malls and groceries to purchase what they need. But according to Hamish Brewer, give or take five more years, all these are bound to change. “The retail industry in the Philippines has been quite insulated from competition for quite some time, and I think that’s going to change,” he said.

Brewer should know, because he is the chief executive officer of JDA Software Group Inc., the company which offers the broadest portfolio of supply chain, retail merchandising, store operations, and all-channel commerce to help companies manage the flow of goods from raw materials to finished products into the hands of consumers.

Based on what he is seeing, he said that the Philippines is catching up fast in online shopping. It doesn’t mean people will stop going to the malls. In fact, the way he explained it seemed to suggest a stronger symbiotic relationship between the traditional and online shopping.


Brewer was recently in the Philippines to visit their office here and assess bright prospects for Philippine retail. In a press briefing, he explained the supply chain concept and how it is still young in terms of evolution in the Philippines. It is all part of the global transformation of retail, he said, and like it or not, everyone has to be prepared for change.

“The next 10 years will bring more changes in retail than the last 50 years combined, and all these as mobile commerce comes of age,” Brewer said.

Indeed, retail’s new reality in the digital age is that the consumer is firmly in control of the shopping and buying experience. Today’s consumers have many more options and retailers must reinvent themselves— going from product-centric operations, to demand-based, fully integrated consumer-centric supply chains.

JDA Software Group is an American software and consul–tancy company founded in 1985, with headquarters in Scotsdale, Arizona. It is a leader in global supply chain management, offering a broad portfolio of integrated planning and execution solutions and services to help manage the entire supply chain through any channel. Its JDA Cloud Services enables companies to derive the greatest value and performance from its solutions. In the Philippines, it has partnered with almost all of the biggest names in retail, including SM, Robinsons, Rustans, Abenson, PureGold and Duty Free.

The Philippine situation
In coming to the Philippines, Brewer also hopes to enlighten Philippine retailers on several “causes of concern” that the company found in a study it had commissioned.

According to Brewer, their findings showed that currently, only 34 percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) in retail consider the transformation to omni-channel shopping as an external threat that is likely to occur. Simply put, this just means retailers don’t see the immediate need of preparing themselves to the change that is inevitable in the next few years. Other factors the company found include the question on whether the CEOs in retail still have the right priorities, understanding of the “information age consumer,” and whether their supply chain is optimized.

Brewer said that having an optimized supply chain is crucial, which means creating an effective multi-channel operation. “There is no product availability without visibility,” he explained, while detailing the changes that will happen as mobile commerce becomes the new norm.

He said retail in today’s digital age is very exciting. There is a lot brewing in this industry, so to speak, and he’s quite happy he is a part of this change. These days, he does about 70-percent of his shopping online, and it affords him more time for a balanced lifestyle. As CEO for JDA, Brewer said that he does travel quite a bit. But he still spends most of his time in the United States and even in his home office. This schedule also affords him time to keep up with family matters and enjoy some of the other things he likes to do, such as cooking and listening to good music. At the end of the day, he said it’s all about making the right choices for whatever one wants in his or her life. Whether it is in dealing with personal or work matters, what is important is the ease at which one arrives at his preferences, be it in buying the latest printer to get the work done faster and easier, or simply shopping for all the music that one fancies. Whatever it is, it also fulfills one of the next big trends in retail that is now fast becoming a reality: consumers no longer go shopping, they are always shopping. And this is one reality that Brewer and his company will happily embrace.

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