Interviews with retailers uncover common need for increased supply chain flexibility
WESTERVILLE, Ohio (Feb. 9, 2012) Today’s savvy e-commerce retail customers demand options. They want to shop on a handheld device, place the order online and pick up their merchandise at a store. If an item is delivered to the home, free and fast delivery is quickly becoming the norm. Retailers are challenged to operate supply chains that meet these rising consumer demands while also profitably managing their business.
Exel, the North American leader in supply chain management and a Deutsche Post DHL Company, today issued a new white paper, “E-Commerce & Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Supply Chain Flexibility Key to Meeting Changing Demands.” The paper examines the conflicting customer requirements influencing online retail supply chain management and provides recommendations for retailers to consider to meet increasing consumer expectations while controlling costs.
“e-Commerce shoppers expect competitive pricing, in-stock merchandise and fast delivery,” said Fred Takavitz, senior vice president for business development, retail, Exel. “Retailers that fail to meet these expectations risk losing sales. We’ve found that flexibility and scalability are the most important components to simultaneously meet increased consumer demand and control costs.”
The new white paper includes insights from U.S. retailers and examines three top pressures facing multi-channel retailers: operating cost management, the shifting economic climate and resulting demand volatility, and increasing consumer expectations. The paper discusses how changes in the supply chain can help retailers:
• Maximize customer satisfaction: Customers expect rapid, inexpensive delivery options. They also expect to have the same brand experience across multiple channels. Successful innovations to reduce delivery times or offer free services can differentiate the brand and convert sales.
• Negotiate peaks and valleys: Retailers need the ability to adjust capacity to accommodate order increases due to discounts or unpredicted demand and to handle fourth quarter peak. Forecasting unpredictability necessitates supply chain agility, which requires investment in flexible distribution systems and networks.
• Find a flexible structure: Deciding how, when and where to invest is tricky and must be based on an assessment of the entire enterprise’s goals. In the future, companies should take a second look at the long-term potential for specialized shared-use operations, where resources and space can flex to adapt to demand fluctuations and provide the scalability that growing retailers demand.
For more information, please contact:
Brian Krejsa or Molly Borchers
Exel Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations
Exel is the North American leader in contract logistics, providing customer-focused solutions to a wide range of industries including automotive, consumer, retail, engineering and manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare, technology, energy and chemicals. Exel’s innovative supply chain solutions, skilled people and regional coverage bring together all aspects of contract logistics in addition to a wide range of integrated, value-added and specialist services. Exel is a wholly owned entity of Deutsche Post DHL, the world’s leading logistics group. For more information, visit www.exel.com.