Building your Omni-Channel Journey

Today’s landscape is changing rapidly. With the surge in internet traffic, the explosion in media consumption and the increasing use of big data and advanced analytics, there is a clear change in the digital landscape. Next to that, also the supplier landscape is evolving. Products are offered via multiple channels simultaneously, there is a trend towards central infrastructure and logistics are redefined to fulfill anywhere, at anytime. This has resulted in changing and improving customer experience. The customer is 24/7 connected and informed, his expectations are higher and more diverse than ever before, and companies try to respond with more customer centricity.

Road to omni-channel

These evolutions have stimulated the market to move towards an omni-channel demand chain. The emergence of e-commerce fulfillment dates back to the end of last century. Before, physical stores served as the leading channel to receive goods. This changed as traditional companies started to develop a separate e-commerce channel next to their brick-and-mortar operations. This further evolved in customers acquiring across multiple channels, revealing mutual influences between online and in-store channels. Today, customers expect retailers to respond to their needs anywhere and anytime in a seamless, omni-channel manner. Looking beyond today’s reality, the interconnected customer of tomorrow will require an interconnected supply chain to satisfy its ambitious expectations. This evolution is expected to transform supply chains towards an ecosystem of products & services.

Establishing an omni-channel ecosystem can be a competitive differentiator and improve operating margin. The Sales Collateral in the download box will guide you through Deloitte’s point of view, the approach to move towards an omni-channel company and key learnings gathered out of previous projects.

Strategic supply chain capabilities to help preparing for the future

In this presentation five key capabilities were highlighted that need to be adopted in order to evolve to an omni-channel ecosystem. A series of point of views has been developed with a deep-dive on each of these levers:


1.       Create an ecosystem of inventory

The number of sales channels has increased exponentially. A common error is to manage stock separately for each channel, leading to high inventory costs and low customer service levels. It is advisable to create one integrated view on inventory, an inventory ecosystem. By consolidating stock over all sales channels and creating a holistic information platform, full visibility on inventory is developed. This way, inventory can be flexibly assigned to orders.

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2.       Flexible and personalized fulfillment

A flexible, personalized fulfillment process is one of the key challenges to evolve to an omni-channel organization. Several steps can be taken in order to improve the process. First, storage areas in the warehouse can be redesigned. With the increased need for low-volume and single-unit picks, warehouses could be equipped with single-unit shelves and high-density storage areas. Secondly, warehouse processes should be re-evaluated. With increasing omni-channel volumes, manual picking can become a bottleneck. Automation could result in higher productivity and less errors. Thirdly, it is important to make use of all nodes in an organization’s network. Customers want to pick-up and return items in every node. Every point in the network should have minimum capabilities to pick, pack, deliver and return.

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3.       Delivery as competitive advantage

Customer expectations are increasing, and challenges in last-mile distribution are growing. This encourages companies to evaluate their distribution model and to determine how to make distribution a competitive advantage. By implementing the right technology, installing well-chosen partnerships and segmenting the customer base, distribution can become an order winner.

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4.       Seamless customer experience: don’t forget the returns process

The returns process is by many companies still considered as necessary evil, without having a real returns strategy. However, it is key to think about how costs of returns can be optimized, as well as how returns can generate extra revenues. Costs can be reduced by avoiding customer returns. Less returns can be achieved by more customization: 3D-scans for clothing and shoes, 3D-printing of products or components. Extra revenues can be generated by cross- and upselling: extra items that are added to the order to trigger the customer, and sell extra items.

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5.       Learning supply chain

New technologies enable companies to fit their supply chain with changing and increasing customer expectations. More and more, intelligence is built into supply chain processes. Tools and systems rely on experience out of previous decisions and their outcome to take autonomous decisions. This way decisions become increasingly more accurate. In the end, decisions will be taken autonomously, to evolve to self-regulating supply chains.

Point of view expected soon

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