From Total Retail
By Jeff Cashman
The retail supply chain has experienced some dramatic evolutions over the last 10 years to 15 years. What started out as a straightforward process for getting goods from a warehouse or a distribution center (DC) and out onto the retail floor has become a central focus for companies managing a complex supply chain, including e-commerce, omnichannel, and brick-and-mortar.
No longer focused solely on storing and shipping pallets of goods, the true omnichannel warehouse must have the capabilities to intelligently optimize fulfillment and increase store efficiency by packing replenishment orders according to individual store layouts and preferences, as well as orchestrating the fulfillment and delivery of single orders to individual customers’ doorsteps. Covering this spread and keeping these order promises can be difficult, and presents high hurdles for retailers that rely on a hodgepodge of manual systems, spreadsheets and older technology solutions to run their supply chains. Concurrently, the lines between offline and online retail sales continue to blur, with offline players improving their online presences (e.g., Walmart’s acquisition of Jet.com) and vice versa (Amazon.com’s purchase of Whole Foods). This, coupled with the sheer uncertainty over what channel a customer will eventually adopt, stokes the need for a more modern fulfillment operating system.