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Are you dropping the ball…

As one of the UK’s leading online electrical retailers hits the headlines this week, with the announcement that it’s introducing dropshipping to its last-mile delivery operations. The aim—to expand the range of products they can sell online without having to hold the inventory.

As technology empowers consumers to be more active and seek value, the more retailers are having to review how they manage more agile and responsive supply chains. In such a competitive environment, it is essential that businesses are able to satisfy customer demands and build strong customer relations.

The shift from bricks and mortar to eCommerce has changed the way we buy as consumers, which in-turn has disrupted the supply chain process. We are finding that increasingly consumers are taking to the web to purchase smaller and less valuable items. Technology and infrastructure are critical to ensuring the delivery process becomes cheaper and more convenient.

While technology was previously reserved for front facing applications, it’s now being applied broadly across organisations, including in the warehouse. This digital transformation has enabled warehouses to make smarter decisions, for example in the packaging process of the supply chain. Retailers need to make sure they’re able to meet those various and wide-ranging packaging requirements, but not at the cost of the environment. Companies can use automated warehouse software to process data to understand and forecast what type of packaging is required for each product, and how to apply that in a sustainable way. For example, smart labelling allows retailers to deliver an efficient end-to-end returns process without unnecessary paperwork. Have a look at some of our solutions here.

It is clear that supply chains need to work harder and smarter than they have done before. Automation and data are going to be key to making sure this happens. The risk is that retailers respond by implementing unnecessary solutions within their logistics operations, based on ‘what’s hot’ right now. Our advice would always be to look at your business model and requirements for the future and make sure that systems integrate effectively.

Regardless of which solution a retailer chooses to implement, we’re clear that the need for their supply chain to be responsive and agile is a must or the risk is they will lose customers.

– Marcus Uprichard, Sales and Marketing Director