The next generation supply chain is more flexible and digital.
With 41% of consumers using two or more channels during the purchase process, achieving flawless fulfilment has become more of a challenge than ever. To keep up with omnichannel demands, supply chain roles are blurring and encouraging collaboration, and manual processes are phasing out. How will this impact the future of logistics?
Access Reinventing the Supply Chain: The Future of Fulfilment Vision Study to find out how manufacturers, retailers and logistics firms are preparing to meet new customer expectations, and what the future holds for omnichannel fulfilment, including: Download Study
- The rising impact of e-commerce on fulfilment expectations
- Why 89% agree e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery
- How shopper fluidity is driving greater industry collaboration
- The big factor 61% of respondents say is disrupting the supply chain
Enabling Intelligent Fulfilment
Supply chain decision makers worldwide are investing in an array of tools to streamline omnichannel merchandise fulfilment. Solutions range from edge technologies – which automate worker tasks such as picking and sorting merchandise at a distribution centre – to demand forecasting and planning applications that boost the accuracy of revenue forecasts and better align inventory levels via data analytics.
In two to three years, tablets and handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will top the devices used for omnichannel logistics. The shift marks an upgrade from manual systems, such as pen and paper spreadsheets for inventory validation, to handheld mobile devices that offer real-time access to warehouse management systems.
Not surprisingly, supply chain executives are outfitting workers with mobile computers that enable quick, automated inventory and cycle counting. They also grant them on-demand inventory lookup and product information to fulfil orders no matter where a shopper purchase originates — a physical store or a smartphone — from wherever the inventory resides — in the retail stock room, fulfilment centre at the manufacturer or on a delivery truck. This in-the-moment inventory visibility enables nimble omnichannel order fulfilment from any link in the supply chain.
Meanwhile, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow the most in the next few years. RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.
Additionally, demand forecasting and planning as well as workforce management tools are being implemented today by 50% of logistics companies surveyed. What’s more, workforce management technologies will also see a rise in investments in the next year by 32% of the same firms.
Gearing Up For Next-Generation Supply Chains
Surviving and thriving amid the global, digital shopping revolution, in which consumers fluidly browse and buy from their smartphones, computers and in store, calls for a supply-chain makeover.
Pressed to offer consumers fast, flexible and even free product fulfilment and delivery in an omnichannel retail landscape, a crowd sourced, and collaborative model is taking shape. Traditional roles are blurring as logistics companies, manufacturers and retailers work to meet the growing on-demand economy via the adoption of business-intelligence supply chain technologies.
In turn, stores are increasingly doubling as distribution centres that fulfil online orders; logistic companies are starting to provide fulfilment and distribution services; and manufacturers are drop-shipping merchandise to expedite retail deliveries. Merchants are also partnering with third-party technology upstarts to speed last-mile delivery.
These next-generation supply chain systems and practices are designed to ensure that merchandise fulfilment is scalable in an omnichannel marketplace.