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Target CIO Mike McNamara's Talks Supply Chain and Digital Innovation

Target CIO Mike McNamara's Talks Supply Chain and Digital Innovation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Target’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Mike McNamara, is laying it all on the table as far the company’s priorities in the coming months—supply chain and digital technology. Formerly the CIO of the UK’s Tesco, McNamara is certainly not a stranger in using technology to tighten the effectiveness of a supply chain. He spoke with Forbes about how he has seen the company’s supply chain change over time, and what he see for the future.

Mike McNamara, CIO, Target“It is all about digital, number one, and supply chain number two,” McNamara tells Forbes as Reporter Peter High asks him to lay out his current main focuses. “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 explains, the supply chain is much more of 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 revamp its supply chain practices 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 company’s CIO also touched on digital several times during his talk with Forbes. With marketing moving away from broadcast and television and towards more personalized approaches on smartphones and tablets, he says keeping on the pulse of technology is “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.