In an age of instant gratification, consumers expect they can get what they want, when they want, how they want it. Retailers are responding to the demand with an omnichannel approach that provides a consistent shopping experience across a variety of channels: online, via telephone or a brick-and-mortar store.
Although the marketing aspect of omnichannel has received the bulk of attention, to make this an effective strategy, businesses cannot lose sight of updating their supply chain and distribution networks to compete in this new market, in which inventory management and agile, fast and accurate delivery are critical.
According to a pre-COVID-19 survey of more than 400 retail industry CEOs, 25% of respondents reported rising out-ofstocks as a growing supply chain issue, while 15% noted problems with fulfillment mistakes, and 13% cited inventory accuracy issues. It’s not a matter of who’s to blame, but rather who will step up and take the lead in creating solutions to enable omnichannel to operate smoothly and efficiently.
You surely know freight carriers who’ve been doing things the same way for years and years, and are satisfied with the status quo. That’s not going to work with the rapidly evolving omnichannel model. At BOLT Systems our mission is to enable carriers to be the answer to supply chain challenges. We’ve built our business on our first-hand experience in this world and a unique understanding of the importance of freight tracking and logistics.
Visibility of inventory in transit is one the major challenges for retailers, even more so in an omnichannel landscape, which has led to an increasing demand for real-time data. Omnichannel providers require access to information on shipments and trucks, as well as into orders and stock-keeping units. The best solutions also incorporate optimization and collaboration capabilities that facilitate communication and the exchange of data and information between trading partners. That’s the exact situation for which we’ve developed our Tandem Workflow app that operates in conjunction with ELDs to track freight, delivery, detention time, proof-of-delivery, and even weather that can cause delays. Additionally, the app allows for immediate invoicing and allows drivers to quickly comment on each delivery.
Inter-company transfer visibility is another obvious need for those attempting omnichannel fulfillment. If you ship something from one distribution center to another, it helps to know what’s on the truck and its expected arrival date. This is especially true if in-transit inventory is made available to omnichannel shoppers. Without exchange of data, retailers stand to lose visibility once a product leaves the dock. Unlike some FMS providers that force users to shell out for additional 15 Century Blvd., Suite 104 Nashville, TN 37214 1-888-424-4638 www.BOLTsystem.com features, the majority of tracking ability is built into BOLT’s basic package. There is a window left open for customization and profiles can easily be created regarding individual needs such as product handling requirements and load/unload processes.
As more and more avenues become available for consumers to order, buy and receive products, there’s no turning back from omnichannel fulfillment. The logistics of this new reality, however, remain highly demanding. The UPS Pulse of the Omnichannel Retailer survey suggests that retailers find the biggest challenges in managing inward inventory in stores and warehouse and distribution. Along with that, almost all retailers (92%) believe that third-party logistics providers (or ‘3PLs’) will continue to have a primary role in the process. That’s why we believe — and we think you’ll agree, that investing in technology to enhance and evolve the way you do business is the way to drive your company forward from a logistics standpoint.
This too is part of the omnichannel transition — integrating the data and resources of the retail company as well as the resources of providers to establish a flexible and efficient supply chain powered by a solid transportation management system.