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Supply chains in omni-channel retailing

We will be exploring the complexities involved in omni-channel logistics and discuss how omni-channel suppliers/retailers adapt to customer demand.

In omni-channel retailing, the order fulfilment process within the distribution channel becomes more complicated, particularly the last mile logistics and costs. The channel of distribution encompasses organisations or individuals who participate in the flow of goods, services, information, and finances from the production point to the final point of consumption.

Traditionally, suppliers have mainly focused on the timely but intermittent replenishment of goods at the retail stores. However in omni-channel environments, consumers may opt to purchase online but pick-up their goods at a physical “bricks and mortar” store, or purchase online with goods delivered to their homes. Retailers and suppliers alike need to ensure that inventory levels at the various points within the distribution channel are sufficient to meet customer demand.

Read the blogpost ‘Omni-Channel Supply Chains Are Changing Everything You Ever Learned in School’. Robert Handfield, from North Carolina State University, discusses insights on major shifts occurring in global businesses resulting from the emergence of omni-channel supply chain.

As the blog says, this view of the supply chain is focused primarily on how we get inventory to the customer. Supply chain issues will be THE issues to resolve as omni-channel purchasing expands. As such, take the opportunity to explore the others links in the section below.

Activity
Identify one complexity in omni-channel supply chain logistics, then describe the way an omni-channel supplier could adapt (or has adapted) to cope with it in order to better fulfill the demand of customer orders.
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Business Futures: Understanding Omni-channel Retailing and Supply Chains

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