Supply Chain News

9 Omni-Channel Logistics Challenges Facing Your Supply Chain

Omni-channel logistics is all about providing consumers with a seamless shopping experience and is only attainable when businesses leverage their ecommerce capabilities with running both a brick-and-mortar storefront and distribution center network.

Omni-Channel Logistics

Omni-channel logistics enables businesses to tailor how their products are purchased and delivered to meet the needs of the modern customer.

Consumers expect to find the products they want both in-store and online, to use technology to make purchases with the swipe of a finger and to have their purchase delivered to their doorstep the very next day.

The expectation of instant consumer gratification has businesses scrambling to shore up their supply chain to ensure cost-effective on-time delivery, which is where omni-channel logistics comes into play.

Download Omni-Channel Logistics Leaders: Top 5 Inventory Insights

Omni-channel logistics strategy seeks to synchronize inventory, logistics and distribution functions across all sales channels to meet consumer demand.

Retailers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers alike are developing complex omni-channel logistics solutions to ensure that their supply chain creates optimal levels of the all-important cost-to-serve metric.

For example, it makes more sense to ship a customer a product from their local retail store than from a distribution center hundreds of miles away.

There are many use cases for omni-channel logistics:

  • Online order fulfilled directly to the buyer’s home
  • Online order sent to a brick-and-mortar store for in-store pickup (a popular way to drive new traffic to brick-and-mortar storefronts)
  • In-store purchase of an out-of-stock item delivered at a later date to the store or directly to the buyer’s home
  • Online order submitted via eRetail channel (e.g. Amazon) and fulfilled directly to the buyer’s home via eRetailer’s or seller’s distribution infrastructure
  • Order drop-shipped directly to consumer from a product manufacturer or CPG business via online retail storefront
  • Online order and in-store purchase returns management

Omni-channel logistics enable supply chain professionals to synchronize inventory flow across all sales channels and comes with its own unique set of challenges.

If these challenges are overlooked, they can lead to lost sales and dilution of brand value.

The 9 Top Omni-channel Logistics Challenges Businesses Face

1. Lack of Inventory Visibility and Metrics

In the world of omni-channel logistics, it’s crucial that businesses know the status of their inventory and whether it’s at a distribution center or retail location. The last thing a company wants is to promise next-day delivery to its customers and not be able to follow through. Inventory can be particularly challenging to keep track of during the holiday shopping season. To address this challenge, businesses must develop an efficient order fulfillment process through the use of a fine-tuned Warehouse Management System (WMS).

Companies that do omni-channel the right way use inventory visibility as an accurate forecast of future demand and plan their supply chain activities accordingly. In fact, the companies that do omni-channel best are able to sell orders online without ever taking physical possession of the product. Ecommerce and order management systems are synced in such a way that online shopping cart orders trigger a PO directly with the vendor, and an outsourced or in-house party within the business’s supply chain carries out fulfillment.

Omni-Channel Logistics Leaders: Top 5 Inventory Insights

When it comes to inventory management and visibility, the old adage of “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” holds true. It’s important to track fundamental-inventory-related metrics such as Inventory Carrying Costs, Perfect Order % and % of Orders Filled from Ideal Inventory Location.

For metrics to matter, they must align with the customer, financial, and strategic objectives. And, in today’s multi-channel supply chain, metrics must indicate how efficiently and cost-effectively product flows through distribution networks to diverse retail locations, distributors and wholesalers, and end consumers.

2. Poor Visibility into Inventory in Transit

Both major enterprises and startups alike generally have relatively poor visibility into inventory in transit, which has led to an increasing demand for real-time freight visibility solutions. Leading omni-channel logistics solutions not only enable visibility into shipments and trucks but into orders and stock-keeping units, as well. These solutions also incorporate optimization capabilities and collaboration capabilities that facilitate communication and the exchange of data and information between trading partners. Leading solutions have started to embed machine learning capabilities and leverage a broader set of data sources - including weather, traffic, location, and social networking - to enable predictive capabilities and determine more accurate Estimated Times of Arrival.

Read: Increase Inventory Visibility across Your Supply Chain and Optimize Omni-Channel Fulfillment

3. Segmented Supply Chain Processes

If a business’s various supply chain processes don’t work together, it can’t ensure across-the-board customer satisfaction. Larger companies generally have many private warehouses and distribution centers, managed by different in-house and outsourced operators, that run on different systems. As a result, they employ different tactics to ensure their supply chain runs smoothly. The key to solving this supply chain segmentation is to consolidate these processes, rather than let them function in silos.

4. Unreliable Order Fulfillment Processes

When a business tells its customers that they will receive same-day or next-day delivery, it needs to deliver on that promise. An unreliable order fulfillment process can lead to shipping delays, which can deter customers from doing business with that company in the future. A good way to ensure a streamlined order fulfillment process is to use the proper technology to help forecast future delays in service or shipping.

5. Finding the Right Transportation

There are many different ways to get a product from a brick-and-mortar storefront or distribution center to the customer’s doorstep. The challenge is to find the most effective and efficient transportation solution to keep customers happy without driving up the landed product costs. Selecting the right shipping method for the right customer situation is essential to omni-channel logistics.

6. Reverse Logistics

The return process for any product should be just as seamless as its initial delivery. In this new omni-channel landscape, customers expect to be able to return products they’ve purchased online in store or by mail. Companies that don’t offer this ease of return are unlikely to generate repeat business. Implementing sound reverse logistics infrastructure is imperative for good customer service within the omni-channel logistics framework.

7. Manual Processes

One of the leading causes of inventory inaccuracy across supply chain nodes is the continued use of manual - often paper-based - processes to capture inventory data. Implementing a WMS with radio frequency (RF) and barcode scanning capabilities is a simple, yet important first step. The most advanced businesses have taken additional steps to automate inventory counts, such as using drones and RFID tags. This automation makes it possible for them to compare results, identify discrepancies and create a more accurate picture of their inventory.

8. Overlooking Physical Transformation

Although digital transformation has received the lion’s share of attention from analysts and technology companies alike, businesses must take care not to lose sight of physical transformation. The method of flowing truckloads of products from large distribution centers to stores has become outdated. Businesses must update their supply chain and distribution networks to compete in this new market, in which speed of delivery and inventory reduction are paramount. Leading enterprises are testing out new distribution strategies in an attempt to become more agile and to better align with customer expectations for faster deliveries.

9. Implementing 3PL Strategy

A successful 3PL is an operations manager, a strategic consultant and an IT provider all in one. This combination of capabilities is especially valuable when it comes to inventory optimization and omni-channel fulfillment. A 3PL’s core competency in fulfillment operations - such as knowing which metrics to use and how to measure them to drive continuous improvement - can help companies both large and small close the capability gap.

What Consumers Want

Omni-channel logistics is all about providing consumers with a seamless shopping experience.

This experience is only attainable when businesses leverage their e-commerce capabilities in a way that acknowledges the reality of running both a brick-and-mortar storefront and distribution center network.

The right 3PL partner can use its retail and shipping industry knowledge and supply chain experience, as well as a diverse set of WMS capabilities and integration strategies to address the challenges listed above.

Read: Industry Study looks at Inventory Management as a Critical Function within Omni-Channel Logistics

Industry Study looks at Inventory Management as a Critical Function within Omni-Channel Logistics

Download the Research Study

Download Omnichannel Logistics Leaders: Top 5 Inventory Insights

Omni-Channel Logistics Leaders: Top 5 Inventory Insights
Based on data collected from nearly 100 companies actively engaged in retail, manufacturing and logistics services, this research paper has provided several valuable insights ranging from current challenges & best practices, characteristics of companies considered high performers, and opportunities for improvement from companies lower on the omni-channel performance curve. Download Now!

Source: https://legacyscs.com/9-omni-channel-logistics-challenges/

Article Topics
Trends   Supply Chain   Inventory Management   Ecommerce   Omnichannel   Transportation Management   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

 
Latest Supply Chain News
Providing eCommerce Merchants Access to Cross-Border & International Parcel Solutions
SEKO Logistics is partnering with ShipStation, the world’s leading web-based eCommerce shipping solution, to increase its eCommerce merchants’ ability to grow in new cross-border markets.

A Leader in the 2018 Control Tower Value Matrix
After examining the entire vendor landscape, Nucleus Research once again placed E2open in the Leaders Quadrant of their Control Tower Value Matrix and ranked us as the vendor with the highest functionality.

Monthly Imports Reach 2 Million Containers for First Time as Retailers Continue Rush to Beat Tariffs
Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports have set another new record, reaching 2 million containers in a single month for the first time as retailers continued to bring merchandise into the…

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks Report
Uniquely positioned to assist companies with their digital transformation initiatives, E2open ranked as the leader with the highest overall score in Gartner’s magic quadrant for multi-enterprise supply…


 

24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


4
 

24|7 Company Profiles