Turning The Supply Chain Inside Out: Inventory Management White Paper
With customers making seamless use of a variety of retail channels, merchants will need to take a new look at how they access and manage inventory. Retailers need to have the flexibility and transparency to capture cross-channel customer demand, and meet it with any available inventory, no matter where it’s located, and fulfill the order in the way the customer prefers.
Since the age of the Industrial Revolution, warehouses have become an important asset to many industries, retail included. Historically, the sector has leveraged these large, enclosed
spaces to store massive quantities of product, enabling them to refill inventory at nearby stores quickly and effectively. Individual brick-and-mortar stores were dependent on their
regional warehouse to replenish stock, and in many cases, regional warehouses were assigned specifically to service those physical locations.
However, the shift towards eCommerce over the past two decades has pushed retailers to reevaluate the role of the warehouse. When many retailers first began opening online stores, they treated these outlets as different channels, and as such, they dedicated specific warehouses to only fulfill eCommerce sales. Retailers then found themselves with two types of warehouses – those replenishing physical stores and those acting as order fulfillment centers, direct to consumer, for online purchases.
With the number of online sales on the rise – comScore has reported 20 consecutive quarters of double-digit online sales growth1 – it was not long before merchants realized the drawback to this arrangement. A single warehouse devoted to online sales created issues with delivery times – an online distribution center on the west coast meant east coast customers would have to wait longer to receive online orders.
This inventory management white paper will discuss how to achieve inventory transparency across the supply chain to deliver real-time information and a perfectly executed customer experience.