The omnichannel opportunity
First published by Admin, on 19 June 2020Warehousing and fulfilment
The rapid shift in demand patterns observed during the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed various weaknesses in the conventional retail supply chain: traditional storefronts, logistics systems, distribution facilities, and supplier networks are now being relooked for their role in optimising the supply chain.
To better compete in the on-demand economy, many businesses are moving their inventory and distribution facilities closer to end-consumers, such as by transforming existing supply chains from single node to multi-node networks. An example of this would be retrofitting stores to double as fulfilment centres, capable of picking, packing and dispatching online orders. With multi-node supply chains, the distance between a fulfilment centre and the end consumer is reduced, hence, businesses can minimise last mile transportation costs and delivery timings.
Businesses should also consider leveraging digital tools and technology to further improve inventory visibility and drive down fulfilment costs.
Real-time inventory visibility
To accurately fulfil orders across an increasing range of retail channels requires real-time inventory visibility across the extended supply chain. Businesses need to have pinpoint accurate information about stock levels and locations in order to improve planning, fulfil orders quickly, reduce out-of-stock and replenishment errors, and better resolve problems in their supply chain.
Seamless inventory deployment
To minimise delivery times and maximise product availability, retailers should leverage intelligent algorithms to automatically allocate and replenish inventory in real time. Full inventory visibility across all channels are thus necessary.
Agile distribution network
Offering a range of delivery options allows businesses to better meet customers’ needs. Hence, businesses should consider fulfilling orders from multiple inventory locations. These multi-node distribution systems can be leveraged to provide localised delivery options, further shortening delivery times.
As businesses retool their distribution networks to better process returns, having a sound reverse logistics system is an increasingly urgent aspect, given its impact on customer loyalty, profit margins as well as overall operational efficiency.
Partnering for success
Setting up multiple fulfilment centres will require a robust distribution network - one that can handle the complexities of a multi-node supply chain, on top of meeting consumer requirements for speed, flexibility and control.
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