Today’s consumers want to buy whatever they want via any channel they choose. That demand has plunged manufacturers and retailers into a multi-channel revolution. Traditional, brick-and-mortar stores are selling their goods online while brand owners that have roots in e-commerce are fighting to place their wares on store shelves.
This scenario creates challenges for companies that must effectively and efficiently manage multi-channel fulfillment. Overlook this aspect of your business and you’ll wind up with:
- Too much inventory
- An excess of warehouse space
- Too many truck runs
- Redundant management structures
- Siloed information systems
- The list goes on…
Why such a mess? Simple. It’s because companies are serving these multiple channels with multiple distribution structures and strategies, instead of creating a master strategy for all fulfillment.
Ready to profit in the multi-channel world?
Then you need a unified approach to distribution for all your sales channels, with a focus on managing the “three I’s” – inventory, infrastructure, and information.
In Mastering Multi-Channel Fulfillment, Amware outlines these three best practices in multi-channel fulfillment and shows companies how to leverage them.
You need an operation that’s built from the ground up for multi-channel fulfillment, with one master inventory for all your channels. You should be able to use sales forecasts and historical data to figure out what products you’ll need for each channel, where you’ll need them, and when.
If you outsource, make sure your partner can meet these requirements. That
partner should also provide timely, accurate reports on orders and fulfillment activity, to help keep your inventory and labor force at optimal levels.
Fulfill B2B and B2C orders from the same warehouses and the same inventory pool. Divide this inventory in the warehouse into three physical regions, with most located in a bulk replenishment area. As forecasts determine future demand, and as actual orders come in, a single warehouse management system directs product into two forward-pick areas, one designed and equipped for bulk distribution and one designed for each-picking.
The best partner for a multi-channel operation has facilities throughout the country, all managed on one system for network-wide visibility. A broad network gives you the flexibility to meet aggressive delivery requirements for consumer orders, while keeping freight costs low.
Whether you run your own logistics or work with a partner, use a single information system to manage inventory for all your channels. That gives you visibility into one, universal inventory pool and lets you allocate product to any channel, in advance and on the fly.
It will also position you for the inevitable day when all retail stores become satellite DCs, shipping orders to local consumers or holding them for in-store pickup. If you sell to retail chains, you also need electronic data interchange (EDI) capabilities and software to automate and foolproof the process of complying with routing guides.
Amware Logistics is a national fulfillment company that is equally proficient at both B2C and B2B fulfillment. The company serves as a single fulfillment provider for companies who market through multiple sales channels.
To learn more about how Amware can help you best position your multi-channel fulfillment operations, contact us today.