Omni-channel: Not A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Omni-channel continues to generate a lot of buzz in the industry, but what is the current state of omni-channel? What’s real and what’s still hype?

“We use the term omni-channel, but the real issue everyone is tackling is consumer centricity,” said Fab Brasca, VP Solution Strategy at JDA Software in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. “Everything is now driving toward serving the individual consumer as opposed to the masses or groups.”

Manufacturers and retailers are employing different strategies to become more consumer centric, but according to Fab, “the bigger question — and this is where what’s real and what’s hype comes into play — is consumers are getting the goods they want, but at what cost? What’s it costing the retailer, what’s it costing the manufacturer, how many shipments are late or lost, how many out-of-stocks are happening — figuring out those questions [is at the heart of what’s real] with omni-channel initiatives.”

Fab raised another important point: “What’s happening with omni-channel varies a lot by sub-industry. So, if you think about the complexities and the approach to omni-channel for fashion and apparel companies, for example, they’re very different than for consumer electronics companies. Size and scale also matter. So, if you’re a local apparel retailer you’re going to have a very different set of challenges than, for example, a big-box home improvement retailer. You’re also going to have different capabilities in terms of enabling consumer centricity.”

“I can talk about some of the things we generally see with our leading customers,” Fab said, “but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to omni-channel.”

That said, what lessons can we learn from companies that are leading the way? Watch the short clip below for Fab’s response:

In a nutshell, leaders think about their supply chain and logistics processes and networks holistically, starting with the individual consumer, and “they don’t assume that they need to do and follow everything that everybody else does. They look at their own network and strengths and see what makes sense for them and what’s going to drive profitability.”

I encourage you to watch the rest of my conversation with Fab for additional insights and advice on this topic, including how omni-channel is impacting warehousing, transportation, and store processes, and the changes it’s driving in supply chain and logistics software. Then post a question or comment and share your perspective on this topic.