Retailers are evolving, and supply chains must evolve with them. The application of omnichannel in manufacturing primarily focuses on the collaboration between suppliers, or vendors, and distributors. To understand this relationship, we have to consider its driving forces, how it affects omnichannel experiences, and what it means for warehousing capabilities and capacity.
The Problem: Seamless Omnichannel Experiences Extend Beyond Retailer-Customer Relationships
Keeping up with customers’ demands has natural implications for business-to-business sellers, including manufacturers. Key applications of omnichannel in manufacturing include increasing end-to-end visibility in material availability; however, many companies overlook ways to improve manufacturer-warehouse relationships, thus they are unable to push operations beyond availability and reliability of supplies, reports Talking Logistics with Adrian Gonzalez. Manufacturers still using disjointed processes and operating in functional silos are unable to keep up with demand.
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The Solution: More Collaboration and Use of Omnichannel Best Practices Are Key in Supplier-Distributor Relationship Management
Manufacturers must fully embrace the best practices of omnichannel to ensure their buyers, including resellers, retailers, distribution centers, and warehouses, have access to stock. Since customers rarely interact directly with manufacturers, it is up to the retailers to pass information along to manufacturers. This relationship can be expanded further using drop-shipping, as described by Aberdeen Essentials, leaving manufacturers to navigate the shipping process to get stock directly to consumers, eliminating middle-land warehouse managers. The same challenges exist in trying to move products closer to consumers, ensuring all shipping options are available, including parcel, LTL, full truckload, and even white glove service, when applicable.
The Reward: Aligning Manufacturers With Retailers Ensures Experience Continuity
The world of retail has changed, moving from being sales-rep-centric to being web-channel-centric, but that does not mean that retailers should focus exclusively on e-commerce platforms, reports Digitalist magazine. Instead, retailers must make the internet an integral part of all interactions, including the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and automated technologies to improve inventory management processes.
Aligning expectations and best practices for omnichannel in manufacturing and warehouse helps companies achieving several key goals of successful omnichannel implementation, including:
- Developing an immersive omnichannel buying experience for B2B customers.
- Increasing revenue by tapping into larger, more diverse, markets.
- Increasing aftermarket services and parts businesses.
- Developing contextual marketing strategies to increase visitor conversion.
- Implementing processes that utilize automation, including self-driving technologies, automated identification and data capture (AIDC), radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, and robotics.
Prepare for Greater Focus of Omnichannel in Manufacturing Processes, Affecting Supplier-Distributor Relationships
As the world moves closer to an omnichannel shopping standard, retailers will continue to roll out new improvements and personalized features to make shopping more enjoyable and tailored to each consumer. Therefore, manufacturers must follow the natural progression by partnering with retailers in greater endeavors and collaboration to move products faster, at lower costs, and through all possible channels. Even if your suppliers and manufacturers have not yet required improvements benefiting omnichannel in manufacturing, this is going to happen soon.