I happened across this news that - â€œCoca-Cola and Indian School of Business (ISB) launched a Retail Academy, an initiative aimed at identifying and nurturing much-needed new leadership in the retail sector.
The words retail sector caught my eye and I did look around for a definition of what was retail and what forms that â€˜verticalâ€™ (â€˜verticalâ€™ used for want of a better word). I did not find a definitive one, oxymoron, looking for a definitive definition, I know. Having said that, all the descriptions (I wonâ€™t call them definitions for now) revolved around merchandising, products, Shopping, Shelf space, selling and many more similar ones.
Good Grief! Is that retail is all about!
I found those descriptions too restrictive, in my opinion retail is just not about selling products/goods and at that through a delivery point called a shop.
To me retail is the last step in any Supply/Value Chain and includes services too. Doesnâ€™t service delivery deserve better and optimal practices? I sincerely believe so. Now the next point that comes in â€“ Who are the largest retail service providers in the world? Municipalities â€“ of course!
Municipalities and Local Government are the largest retailers collectively today. The services, quality, delivery challenges are tempered by a â€œnot for profitâ€ motive which makes it even more challenging. I clarify that a â€œnot for profitâ€ does not necessarily mean operating at losses or where gross margins are in deficit.
Processes, strategies in effective service delivery will only make those deliveries efficient and at that will benefit the citizens. Participation and investment in these areas by private industry by building academic and research partnerships is another means of social responsibility. At Ramco this process is manifested as collaborating to build robust and cost effective solutions for municipalities incorporating the leading practices from retailing. A larger partnership for delivery and management of utility/municipal services is the need of the hour to build infrastructure for governments. Any takersâ€¦.