Going forward is fairly, well, straightforward. Whether it’s driving or running; or something more involved like making an online purchase. With the former you have vision and a direct, natural route to where you are going. And with the latter, you are performing a familiar, explicit transaction. But if you try and do either backwards, it easily becomes complicated. This is especially true for reverse logistics and omni-channel fulfillment. In fact, the typical forward logistics of managing these platforms and transactional demands can be a challenging ordeal, reversing it makes it even more complex.
Thinking outside the box has become a cliché statement. It’s still important but has become so overused it has almost lost its meaning. However when it comes to warehouse optimization and supply chain efficiency, it may be the most appropriate thing to say. Thinking outside of the box, specifically, what is under, over, and next to the box can provide the opportunity to address the speed and demand of omni-channel logistics. Rack, shelving, and storage space has become the next frontier for fulfillment centers. While it brings new challenges like maximizing space and worker safety, it also offers opportunities for new cost savings and efficiencies.
Sometimes when giant corporations make an announcement or negative information is made public it can essentially show that the “writing is on the wall” for the industry. The accounting fraud perpetuated by Enron that made headlines in 2001 led the way for other major economic scandals from Worldcom and Tyco. The recent news from Macy’s, while not scandal related, could signal lead the way for similar changes in their industry. The retail giant recently announced that they would be closing dozens of brick and mortar stores around the country. However, while it could be assumed that this is a red herring for major retail outlets, quite the opposite is true. In November and December of 2015 macys.com and bloomingdales.com had 17 million orders. This was a 25% increase over the same time period in 2014. A recent article from Multichannel Merchant details what Macy’s recent announcement means for the state of omni-channel logistics.
The more options consumers have, the more channels are created inside of the supply chain. A new sector known as omni-channel logistics has risen as a response to e-commerce platforms and companies’ corresponding responses to the customer demand for cheaper and more convenient alternatives. Omni-channel logistics was developed from the decades old model of multi-channel logistics (stores, catalogs, phone orders). It was designed with the goal to deliver products based on customer needs, not location of inventory.
Just as statistical knowledge can help prove your point in those Sunday afternoon gridiron debates, statistics can help you understand and navigate the new challenges of retail logistics. Here are 5 facts and stats about omni-channel and its impact on retail.
The constantly evolving landscape surrounding the distribution industry is providing more and more variables and challenges for your supply chain. With online and mobile orders on a steady rise, distributors need fresh ways to meet these multiple channels of distribution while keeping costs under control. The essence of this change stems from the modern ways for a customer to submit an order. It can be via smart phone, laptop or even the good old call center. These orders are also expected to be able to be delivered to a variety of places; homes, offices, etc. All of these new obligations are creating challenges that 3PLs are learning to overcome.