“This approach requires fundamental changes to their business practices and infrastructure. Companies need to implement integrated strategies so that stores, distribution centers, and marketing are on the same page. They should review the costs and benefits and weigh the options,” states Rich Hite, President of QC Software, a leading provider of Tier-1 Warehouse Control Systems throughout North America.
Stores need additional equipment, software, space, and manpower to manage distribution. Distribution centers were designed specifically for order fulfillment, while existing stores need to retrofit their facilities. Many small retailers cannot cost-effectively implement a mini warehouse because of space constraints.
Companies need to decide how inventory and orders will be prioritized and update inventory policies. They may decide to ship product closest to the end user to keep shipping costs down, but should the store ship an item if it causes a stockout situation? Is inventory at the stores kept separate from inventory at the distribution center? Companies need software that automatically routes orders to the best facility based on cost, location, inventory levels, and other factors.
Inventory visibility across the network is mandatory so that stores have the flexibility to ship from any location. Shippers and vendors need to share information such as delivery dates and product availability. This requires a strong inventory management system to manage an increasingly complex environment.
Stores also need a strong order management system that tracks inventory and orders across the network. This requires an agile system that continually optimizes inventory based on demand. Because orders are often shipped within 24 hours, this application must dynamically change the way inventory is allocated.
Implementing e-commerce in the store requires a cultural shift. To maintain a high level of service, they need a sufficient number of personnel to manage both retail and distribution. They should decide whether workers will be trained to handle both and how to best schedule order fulfillment. The challenge is to effectively manage both processes without sacrificing service.
There are many benefits to implementing multiple distribution channels including higher sales, greater market share, and risk mitigation. It takes network coordination, sufficient resources, and the right strategies to make it work.
For over eighteen years, QC Software has delivered the results that help companies succeed. Their leading-edge Tier-1 Warehouse Control System provides the flexibility, visibility, and control across warehouse operations that customers need to optimize resources and profitability. Through industry collaboration, customized training, and 24/7 support, QC Software ensures that each customer is fully leveraging their technology. Distributors realize increased system productivity and dependability.