For decades, consumer goods companies have exacted and excelled at manufacturing and moving mass quantities of products through retail stores for sale to consumers across the country. But as brands continually evolve in an age of omnichannel commerce – meeting consumers in the store, at the curb, in their mobile phone messenger or at their doorstep – organizations are making key adjustments to their supply chains.
As Greg Buzek, president of IHL, a retail technology analyst, says, “retail is very, very good at moving cases; it’s not very good at moving eaches.” The latter, of course, refers to e-commerce fulfillment, whether shipping a single order to a store for pickup, to the home or elsewhere. Brands face a new challenge of using the actual store as a fulfillment house, building “dark” stores solely for online fulfillment, or constructing new warehouses that manage both traditional retail cases and single orders.
For example, two years ago, Conair Corp. opened an 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Glendale, Arizona, to manage direct-to-consumer orders and online orders through retail partners. The state-of-the-art, omnichannel fulfillment house is adjacent to two traditional fulfillment centers handling “old-fashioned” pallets.
CGT’s sixth annual Supply Chain Report looks at the steps consumer goods companies are taking to build a supply chain process for an omnichannel era, focusing on four key areas: demand planning, fulfillment, manufacturing, and last-mile/direct-to-consumer delivery.