Articles Strategies for Tackling Today’s Omni-Channel World
The growth of ecommerce has put considerable pressure on companies to optimize their omni-channel fulfillment operations. A multi-node distribution network strategy combined with powerful technology can help shippers to tackle the challenges they’re facing in the current market.
In the feature article from a new digital magazine by Logistics Management, Steve Congro, Saddle Creek Logistics Services’ director of omni-channel fulfillment technology, shares some insights on why and how companies are using these strategies to tackle omni-channel today.
Following is an excerpt from the article…
Get Closer to Your Customer with an Omni-Channel Fulfillment Distribution Network
As ecommerce sales continue to explode, growing and sustaining multiple sales channels can be overwhelming for shippers. Their customers expect a seamless experience – whether they’re shopping via web, mobile, marketplaces, social or traditional bricks-and-mortar.
Faced with rapidly growing sales volume, shippers encounter numerous hurdles in their quest to keep omnichannel customers happy while still maintaining profitability. Transportation, warehouse space, labor, and technology are a few of the most common pain points.
Heightened customer expectations for fast, free shipping can be difficult to deliver on in today’s transportation market. Fluctuating fuel costs and tight carrier capacity pose major challenges. Capacity issues can get particularly onerous during peak shipping seasons, when even companies like UPS and FedEx scramble to figure out how to secure and pay for all of the infrastructure necessary to service their customers.
Space and staffing issues compound shippers’ problems. Labor can be hard to find with national unemployment hovering at a historically low rate. Industrial real estate also is in short supply and increasingly expensive.
“The cost of moving products is only going to go up. That’s the reality of it, and it isn’t going to change anytime soon,” says Steve Congro, Saddle Creek Logistics Services’ director of omni-channel fulfillment technology. “If your business is growing rapidly and you need to accommodate multiple channels, the best solution is to rethink how you move your products.”
Effective distribution requires a critical understanding of your network, high levels of supply chain visibility, and a focus on planning well in advance for the peaks. Congro recommends utilizing a multi-node network that allows you to get as close to customers as possible and minimizes any “last mile” gaps that keep customers from getting their goods on time.
“If you’re a seasonal retailer who does a lot of business on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the holiday season, you really have to understand your network and how to plan for those peaks,” Congro explains. “If a customer can’t find a Halloween costume in a bricks-and-mortar store on October 20th, and if the retailer can’t get it to that customer until November 5th, that’s a lost sale.”
To learn more about how the right DC network, combined with robust technology, helps companies handle omnichannel fulfillment, read the article on page 4 in the digital issue.