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Omni-Channel Distribution + Inventory Visibility Strategy = Solid Supply Chain Performance

Here’s a fact: seamless shopping experiences are no longer the exception these days; they’re the rule. Truth is, it takes a great deal of knowledge, expertise and data-driven decision-making to deliver the “Buy it Now, Get it Tomorrow” omni-channel distribution experience today’s consumers have come to expect. Without a competent, forward-thinking Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider who knows your customer markets and sales channels, it’s almost impossible to pull off. After all, it only takes is one poorly executed transaction to lose a customer for good.

While consumers actively seek out merchants who offer free shipping, readily available inventory and guaranteed fast delivery, the best 3PL providers are busy honing their data so that the entire supply chain process runs as smoothly as possible. They’re constantly evolving at the speed of consumer expectations while anticipating what’s next in the ever-shifting world of eCommerce. A 2017 Capgemini study showed that 72 percent of merchants plan to boost their use of third-party logistics over the next few years, and there’s no signs that this trend is flagging.

Of course, speed is only part of it. Businesses are also turning to 3PLs to reveal customer insights that allow them to reduce operating costs while increasing their responsiveness in an effort to retain customers over the long haul. Case in point: an Aberdeen Group study showed that companies employing a sound omni-channel supply chain strategy retain a whopping 89 percent of their customers while those without such strategies keep only 33 percent of customers.

Real-World Insights

In 2018, LEGACY Supply Chain Services teamed up with Adelante SCM to research the habits and opinions of 100 retail and manufacturing supply chain pros. Two-thirds of those surveyed rated their omni-channel performance at or below average. One of the main reasons for this was poor visibility across their supply chain segments as well as not taking advantage of key inventory metrics available to them. The study found that companies with high visibility into inventory across their supply chain were more likely to leverage 3PL fulfillment centers, and also had a comprehensive understanding of the impact of inventory costs on their overall landed cost structures. These companies had another thing in common: they all used integrated distribution centers for both eCommerce and traditional order fulfillment, rather than separate centers for each.

Improving Omni-Channel Distribution

With these eye-opening statistics in mind, here are five ways to improve your omni-channel distribution:

  • Measure what matters: Managers have a lot to measure, but not all performance indicators are created equally. When you can focus on elements such as days of supply, cash to cash cycle time, on-time shipping rate, inventory supply and freight costs per unit, you can understand how to leverage your supply chain to drive more sales and stronger consumer loyalty.
  • Implement real-time visibility and control tower solutions: Without a central hub and the right technology at your side, it’s difficult to track transportation data and it’s even harder to make decisions that will impact your business in the long-run. Having the proper control tower solutions in place is critical.
  • Automate data processes: As more and more businesses turn to mobile solutions for automated data collection, paper-based processes are quickly becoming a relic of the past. By automating data processes, you’re better able to mobilize your supply chain, reduce costs and improve overall customer satisfaction/retention.
  • Re-evaluate your network design: Your network exists to delivery your product to your customer and your customer’s customer in the most efficient and cost-effective way that meets service level requirements. Like any other element of your business, this needs revisiting from time to time to determine whether your network is truly meeting your company’s needs and keeping your customers coming back for more.
  • Leverage knowledge and experience: Those who take the DIY route with their supply chains tend to suffer the consequences of lost revenue and eroding customer trust. When you work with a 3PL provider, you gain full visibility into your inventory as well as your entire supply chain.

About LEGACY Supply Chain Services

For nearly five decades, LEGACY has provided dedicated logistics to clients across the United States and Canada in both B2B and B2C industries including retail, CPG, industrial manufacturing, electronics, technology and distributor networks.

We believe omni-channel success goes far beyond just order fulfillment. We understand that each step of the supply chain is equally important – from inventory to distribution to transportation. We provide direct-to-consumer eCommerce fulfillment, direct-to-store order replenishment, big box retailer compliance, center-to-center distribution and returns management along with reverse logistics.

When you need a full-service distribution and eCommerce fulfillment solution, consider LEGACY Supply Chain Services for unmatched, world-class supply chain experience.

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