Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Viewpoint: Meeting the multi-channel challenge

By Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
October 01, 2012

Multi-channel selling has revolutionized the retail industry—and I’m not sure if you can find anyone in the market who would argue that statement.

It has pushed logistics professionals in this vibrant sector to recalibrate everything—from transportation networks, distribution center location and design, utilization of materials handling equipment, to carrier and supplier partnerships. In fact, it would be safe to say that efforts to meet the multi-channel challenge have connected logistics operations to overall business strategy more than any other trend over the past 20 years.

The job of successfully managing inventory to be sold in store, online, through a catalog, or a hybrid of all three—with a variety of delivery options to meet any customer demand—rests solely on the backs of the logistics and supply chain team. But the only way savvy retailers are able to implement these complex systems is through a finely-woven line of communication that starts in the C-suite, snakes through marketing, procurement, and facilities planning, and then makes its way into the distribution center.

Just ask Peter Zedler, senior manager for transportation planning and support at Best Buy, how critical his role has been in the “big box” retailer’s multi-channel solution. Not only did Zedler’s team implement an innovative transportation and distribution plan to execute the multi-channel strategy at the company’s newly renovated stores, but the team was also vital in the execution of the remodeling process itself.

In fact, Zedler’s coordinated efforts with Best Buy’s logistics, properties, and global procurement teams to meet a variety of complicated fulfillment challenges has earned the retailer the 2012 NASSTRAC Shipper of the Year Award. Logistics Management, in conjunction with this logistics and transportation advocacy organization, present this annual award to shippers that have demonstrated excellence in the execution of a logistics strategy designed to advance the company’s overall mission.

This is the second time in eight years that Best Buy has received the award, and marks the first time a company has won multiple times. “They’re
constantly innovating to stay competitive in an increasingly complex market,” NASSTRAC Executive Director Brian Everett told me during our selection process. “This new transportation program clearly demonstrates that a retailer, or any shipper for that matter, now has to think about more than just product movement throughout the supply chain.”

Best Buy’s winning success story, told by Contributing Editor John Schulz, unfolds on page 28.

“Customers can always order online, but often they like to go to the new stores to get a look at the products or actually put them to use,” says Schulz. “Once there, the customer can buy on site, but if they don’t have it in stock the store they can quickly pull it from the nearby warehouse for pick up that day or order it online to be shipped to the customer’s home. We take this stuff for granted these days, but it’s logistics innovation that’s making it possible.”

About the Author

image
Michael Levans
Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

U.S. carloads were down 2.4 percent annually at 284,618, and intermodal volume was up 6.7 percent compared to the same week as last year at 277,854 trailers and containers.

The results of the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report were released at Wednesday’s ProMat keynote, with some of the biggest findings from the report’s survey being pricing pressure combined with ever growing customer expectations for a faster, better experience.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in February was down 3.1 percent (2000=100) compared to a revised 1.3 percent (from 1.2 percent) increase in January. ATA said this reading marks the lowest level for the SA index going back to last September.

It was a busy day for railroad-related legislation yesterday, with the United States Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approving two bills with a railroad focus by a voice vote. The respective bills are S. 808, the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015 and S. 650, the Railroad Safety and Positive Train Control Extension Act.

Indications given by a splinter group of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union suggest that shippers should not assume the tentative contract with the Pacific Maritime Association is a “done deal.”

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA