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Omni-channel logistics operational demands

We will be looking at some common supply chain operational issues that are resolved by technologies.
Omni-channel logistics operational demands
© RMIT University 2017

This section looks at how some of the main operational issues faced by supply chains are handled by technologies. To help you understand the holistic operational processes employed by a world-class order fulfilment centre, using technology to meet demands, we suggest you view four videos relating to Amazon.

  1. Inside an Amazon fulfillment center by Fox 13 News demonstrates how Amazon fulfillment center operates once a customer clicks on the ‘confirm order’ button. It reveals the complex, but well-organised, set-up of Amazon’s fulfillment centre.
  2. ‘How Amazon Receives Your Inventory’ from FulfillmentbyAmazon shows how Amazon receives and processes inbound inventory. It will take you on a tour at Amazon’s fulfillment center and see how its Associates receive customer’s inventory from the inbound shipments. You will also learn what happens when your shipments are missing vital prep, labels or packaging or are otherwise not e-Commerce ready.
  3. ‘Inside one of Amazon’s busiest days’ shows how Amazon.com handles the extra holiday orders at its Fernley, Nevada fulfillment center with an 1,500 extra workers to help.
  4. Amazon’s New High-Tech Distribution Center by GeekWire reveals how robots are used to contribute to Amazon’s order fulfilment process and manage holiday packages.

These four videos give you a real idea of how a distribution centre, like Amazon’s, meets the “anytime, anywhere and from any device” expectation of omni-channel purchasing.

Transactional Information and Documentation

For Amazon’s fulfillment centre to proceed further, a vast range of logistics documentation, e.g. purchase orders, invoicing etc. needs to be completed. At the core of these tasks is a range of documentation that needs to be checked, filled out and issued to the right parties on time. This is another major challenge for omni-channel logistics that needs intelligent software to bring order to chaos.

We recommend you also look at the video Freight Channels Freight Application to identify the role of intelligent software systems in simplifying the omni-channel environment. Find it in the links below.

To drive home the importance of planning and design, look at Transport 2035: Meeting the Demands of omni-channel Logistics (also in the links section). It explains how even simple design elements, including having more doors in warehouses and larger turning spaces for delivery and pickup, could speed goods loading and unloading in warehouses to help build agility and flexibility to support omni-channel retailing.

Finally, if you are interested in the logistics of ports, we recommend you watch the video by ITN Productions which discusses port logistics in an omni-channel world.

Activity
Can you think of another operational issue that needs to be addressed to build agility and flexibility capabilities in omni-channel logistics?
If so, please post it in the Comments area for others to read about.
© RMIT University 2017
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Business Futures: Understanding Omni-channel Retailing and Supply Chains

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