More companies are actively engaging with consumers in search of the ultimate omnichannel sales experience as the strength of online sales increase, reports Supply Chain Quarterly. Unlike traditional supply chains, omnichannel supply chains rely on the successful integration and application of data, process standardization and high-tech tools to ensure a seamless flow of information and products. As a result, companies that want to go omnichannel need to begin working to deploy these standards and supply chain technologies.
The first toward implementing an omnichannel supply chain strategy is automation. Due to sheer volume and scale of operations, systems must use automation to capture data and details about every product movement and action. Technologies used in this step include handheld device scanners, automated radio frequency identification tags, Bluetooth technologies and automated identification and data capture (AIDC), comparable to RFID tags. The options are limitless, but the key lies in automating the collection of information into a central location, like the cloud.
Second, organizations working toward omnichannel sales should leverage the power of data through advanced analytics systems. These software platforms can compare data points, aggregate details that appear unrelated and define key ways to improve operations, asserts Michael Unger and Silvia Bernardini of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
Both previous steps are useless unless all systems used in the supply chain communicate and are integrated together. This ensures one part of the supply chain does not dominate and undermine the success of other channels. In other words, strong integration between warehouse management, transportation, and billing systems is essential to encouraging a cyclic flow of products to give consumers what they want.
Next, modeling is essential to the development of an omnichannel sales supply chain. Modeling gives companies the opportunity to run scenarios based on changes in consumer buying trends and habits. As a result, companies can move products in areas where greater demand is expected. In a way, this is similar to just-in-time delivery and real-time inventory management and control.
The final piece of the puzzle involves providing an extra layer of service to consumers. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools must have the capacity to access and utilize data from across the supply chain. Furthermore, such data must be readily available to appropriate users. For example, consumers should be able to see how long an item may take to ship against purchasing it in the store. In turn, customer service reps must also have access to such information.
Creating a strong omnichannel supply chain is made possible through modern supply chain technologies. By deploying these technologies, enhancing collaboration and ensuring optimal visibility across the supply chain, companies can achieve omnichannel status.
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