RILA and Auburn University Release State of the Retail Supply Chain Report

Association’s third annual report keys in on multi-channel challenges retailers face and the shift from cost cutting to growth


“The real challenge for today’s multichannel retailer is to become channel agnostic and fulfill demand effectively regardless of order type or origin,” said Brian Gibson, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Auburn University. “As sales volume grows in nontraditional channels, achievement of technology integration, operational flexibility and process visibility will separate the leaders from the pack. These capabilities provide the fulfillment agility, accuracy, and cost efficiency needed for multichannel success.”

In addition, experts are recommending distributed order management (DOM) software as a common-sense response to retailers’ multi-channel needs. DOM allows retailers the ability to capture, manage and optimize orders regardless of origin-computer, retailer store, kiosk or mobile phone. After the order capture, the DOM system identifies the fulfillment facility or channel that will best serve the customer and the retailer.

DOM offers promise for cross-chain visibility, integration and service improvement. Analysis from the report concludes that full utilization of DOM across all fulfillment processes earns the greats cost reductions. DOM also allows customers to shop across all channels with the ability to make returns at any location regardless of where the order was fulfilled.

Other takeaways in the report included insight into supply chain strategy, sourcing practices, the re-emergence of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and emerging challenges in the retail supply chain.

For more report findings, visit www.rila.org.

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