Clearing through the aftermath of Black Friday, and Cyber Monday; as December falls upon us, consumer anticipation to deck the halls with the best deals is still decidedly present; and with all this in mind, many logisticians are preparing not only for the Christmas retail-rush, but also for the rigmarole of becoming run-rife with returns, as soon as the festivities end.
So just what exactly is involved in the retail-run-up to celebrate a commercialised Christmas?
As the nights draw darker, consumers begin to feel festive, and retailers shop fronts begin to twinkle with décor and deals. Not directly correlated, but closely attributed to, the increased amount of Christmas stock there is available for consumers to purchase, means therein results a subsequent sharp increase in retail activity online, and on the high-street.
True to form, this of course is all determined by a supply chain-reaction of events; and for efficiency and effectiveness, omnichannel strategies may be implemented. Whilst considerably complex, this method allows for significant increases in convenience and flexibility for consumers’– in terms of determining their own choice of location for the collection and delivery of their purchases. The more consumer centric a company can be, the less they risk losing out to bigger and better veterans of the Christmas sales scene. Afterall, ‘tis the season to encompass the succinct cooperation of retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors alike.
Tying into omnichannel, digitisation of not only consumerism and retail, but also the manufacturing and supply chain elements, there is many an opportunity for technology to be implemented to improve logistics operations for both businesses, and their consumers.
Additionally, as we quickly approach the back end of 2018, and the beginning of the new year, the Logistics Industry will undoubtedly be inundated with an abundance of new and ever innovative technologies to further improve the practices and processes within not only consumerism, but also, manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain roles.
Through the use of technology and complex algorithms, systems will soon not only provide a full inventory of stock, but will also allow retailers and warehouse managers, to gain a view of where there is spare labour within the supply chain and decide how best to use this to their advantage; both of which are focusses paramount for a smooth-running supply chain.
As an increasing amount of delivery options begin to cater towards supporting the consumers’ needs, retailers are starting to work on better anticipating slots when customers will be at home to receive the delivery of their ordered items.
Not only does this mean more accurate and shorter delivery windows of between 30 minutes to an hour have become available; but this is in-turn, predicted to reduce the need for re-deliveries, thereby also potentially reducing the costs associated with multiple delivery attempts, which can often be the most costly and problematic part of the e-commerce and omni-channel process.
Whilst the separate elements of the supply chain are often still viewed in a very compartmentalised way, the supply chain should always be recognised as an entire entity, within which various aspects of the holistic operational processes exist.
Right first time is the aim for retailers’ deliveries and is a core contributor to building brand loyalty and predicting return consumerism. For many retailers, especially within the omnichannel supply chain – perfect order is central to customer perception and satisfaction. Put simply, the more frequently perfect order picking occurs; the less expenditure needs to be allocated to processing returns, and re-working and expediting deliveries, in-turn exceeding consumer expectations.
Errors to be avoided, often stem from warehouse pick errors, and under-developed stock-inventory technology; often resulting in reduced customer satisfaction, impacting upon sales and repeat business, and brand advocacy, in addition to costs incurred from managing a returns, re-packing, and re-shipping procedure.
The higher the accuracy, it is not only the product, but also the service which is better received, all of which of course are ever-favourable results for the retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers, and logistics providers, and consumers, alike.
Merry Christmas to all from The Supply Chain Consulting Group!