Impressions from the Omni-Channel Fulfillment & Logistics Conference 2014

retail shoppingI attended Omni-Channel Fulfillment & Logistics 2014 in New Orleans earlier this month, and it was a really interesting experience of hearing from some of the top brands and industry trend watchers about how retailers and solution providers are embracing and reacting to the omni-channel consumer.

Every retailer I heard from talked about their omni-channel journey…in other words, no one feels like they have this new world figured out yet and many companies are still in the early stages of it. For instance, according to Forrester Research:

  • Only 39 percent of retailers have the capability that lets their sales associate look up a product
  • Only 32 percent of retailers offer the capability for customers to look up inventory online

Other retailers that were earlier in adopting changes for omni-channel consumers have tried different approaches to managing orders and execution, but are continuing to tweak things and are especially concerned with remaining consistent across channels: Do we split orders? Should we ship from a store? If so, how often or how much? and so on.

Terry Harris from Chicago Consulting presented on how to design an omni-channel supply chain, starting with determining your big picture (strategy, structure and implementation) down to the details (fulfillment options, mechanization, business processes, etc.). The resulting changes in the supply chain will mean that new order systems must work side-by-side with legacy ERP and order management systems. We can look to 3PLs for some guidance in this in how they connect multiple systems, including using standard and non-standard order interfaces. In this scenario, a flexible warehouse management system (WMS) that can be integrated into other store and warehouse technology is critical for maintaining inventory control.

This conference brought out lots of insight from industry watchers and retailers, and it confirmed that our solutions here at HighJump are making a difference.  In fact, Jeff Starecheski, Vice President of Supply Chain Solutions from Sears Holdings Corporation (a HighJump customer), led a panel discussion at the conference on store fulfillment. During the panel discussion, Jeff talked about how Sears was using the HighJump WMS for in-store fulfillment, optimizing pick path processes and order flow methodology.

HighJump’s adaptable software, including our WMS that performs both warehouse and store functions, as well as integrates with disparate systems in each location, provides a flexible, central solution for retailers looking to reshape their omni-channel supply chain – no matter where they are on that journey.

 

Related Resources

Press Release: Sears Holdings Selected HighJump WMS to Manage its Omni-Channel Distribution Operations
Blog Post: What Spaghetti Noodles and Omni-Channel Strategies Have in Common
Case Study: Specialty Outdoor Retailer Excels with HighJump WMS in the Cloud
Article: Reverse Logistics Planning: Three Considerations for an Omni-Channel Environment

Chuck Fuerst

Chuck Fuerst is the director of product strategy at HighJump Software. He has more than 15 years of experience in the technology market, working for supply chain and ERP software companies to deliver innovative solutions. Chuck is responsible for monitoring supply chain industry and technology trends and identifying ways to enhance the value of products for HighJump’s customers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and innovation from Concordia University.

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