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Is it possible to adapt my existing supply chain to fully embrace multichannel?

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Is it possible to adapt my existing supply chain to fully embrace multichannel? Multichannel has created a unique supply chain challenge for retailers. There is seemingly no blueprint for successful multichannel fulfilment that others can emulate. But with Asda reporting last month that 75% of its customers are expected to be multichannel this Christmas, retailers’ supply chains must be ready.

 A temptation would be to look for an easy solution, but simply shoehorning online into existing store supply chains is unsustainable, argues Tim Waters, supply chain lead at professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal.

“Retailers must redesign their online supply strategies from a blank sheet of paper. Adapting existing supply chains as you grow can only take you so far,” he says.

Early attempts to fulfil orders from stores have worked to a degree, but at a very high cost to the retailer. For example, manually fulfilling home delivery orders from supermarkets can often be slow and create congestion in the aisles. Not only is that not economically viable, but it can lead to increased frustration among store shoppers.

Some retailers are already responding to this by expanding their warehouses, which are used to fulfil online orders, to remove the burden from stores. Waters comments: “As the online market share matures and grows, robust supply chain fulfilment platforms must be established. However, sorting the existing online customer offer mustn’t be overlooked. Staying on top of both will be key.”. Read more on retail-week.com.

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 12:30

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