Overcoming Omni-channel Challenges in Retail
Supply chains should allocate product across today's complex omni-channel networks to fulfill customer demand.
In today's inbound logistics supply chain, companies, especially retailers, continue to focus on that critical path from purchase order placement to delivered DC and availability for order allocation. Flexible supply chains that can allocate product across today's complex omni-channel networks quickly and accurately are most often the winners in fulfilling customer demand. Allocating that product at the last possible moment to the right channel can be a difficult task.
The exponential growth of omni-channel networks has highlighted the issues retailers face when inventory flow and order management systems may be in separate channels servicing different clients for e-commerce home delivery vs. business to business and store channels.
In order to get product moving across disparate channels downstream, retailers look for that marriage of order item detail to shipping information via third-party networks and systems. Systems that can tie multiple channels of inventory flow, and manage vendors and shipping functions, provide visibility of order item detail.
The ability to have this detail can mean real savings in inventory carrying costs and enhanced revenue. An enabled network allows order allocation on the water or en-route, to the right channel at the right time, reducing cost and delivery time to the ever more complex consumer.
Better inbound planning and tighter ERP product lead times can be achieved. Ultimately, the difference in making the sale or not in many cases is the company's ability to manage this flow.
The solutions via third parties depend on a marriage of technology and 'boots on the ground.' Technology is advancing at a rapid pace but technology alone cannot solve the problem.
Management of vendor ex-factory windows, order/item quantity tolerance and mode selection requires partners with integrated global networks that are also very close to the vendor base.
The software or technology deployed must be a single positioned platform integrated with upstream ordering process and downstream inbound processes. With the logistics industry racing to develop the best technologies, the marriage of technology to these problems will continue to rely on globally connected networks and human capital to extract the most value from today's complex supply chains.
Crane Worldwide is a full-service air, ocean, trucking, customs brokerage, and logistics company. Crane Worldwide has the team in place to understand your supply chain challenges and help you overcome them. We know that not having your product on shelves impacts your bottom line. We are dedicated to ensuring your supply chain is more efficient, reliable, and profitable.