2012 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey: Mixed signals
November 01, 2012
The multi-channel effect
For the first time, we decided to track how companies use market channels—or how they make product available to their customers.
Most of the respondents (84 percent) report servicing more than one channel: 67 percent report shipping to wholesalers; 57 percent to retailers; and 29 percent are e-commerce based, shipping products directly to customers.
“I would be most interested in tracking e-commerce penetration over the coming years,” says Derewecki. “It seems that despite what industry our clients are in, if they are not using the Internet now, they have a plan to get into it.” He notes that more consumers are now using brick-and-mortar stores merely as “showrooms” to see a particular model, confirm its looks and functions, but then head back home to compare costs among web retailers before ordering that model online.
How are multi-channel respondents fulfilling their orders? Forty percent are filling their orders themselves from one main DC, designating separate areas for retail or e-commerce or scheduling specific pick waves for certain channels.
“Almost 25 percent of respondents have already decided to put it in a separate DC,” notes Saenz. “It would be interesting to see how these results change as each channel grows. I predict more separate DCs and the use of more third-party logistics providers.”
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