Emerging Options for Omni-Commerce Logistics Strategy

At SCI Logistics in addition to fulfilling millions of e-commerce orders on an annual basis, we also spend a significant amount of time studying the optimal methods of helping our customers serve consumers in Canada. And by the way, if you’re not already serving online consumers in Canada, you might want to read ‘Looking For Growth in Lean Times? Look North to Canada!‘ to see the opportunity you may be missing!

Every week I’m interacting with more and more e-commerce professionals whose day to day job is coming up with the best methods of delivering Omni-Commerce solutions for their customers.

One thing I can say is there seems to be a lot of angst, confusion, and misinformation out there, so I thought it might be helpful to share some of the best practice options, opinions and trends that seem to be emerging.

MatrixCommerceThose of you who know me are aware of my work in coining and developing the ‘Matrix Commerce‘ concept, however I’m sure you’ll have noted today that I’m using term Omni-Commerce. This is simply a reflection of blunt reality, before any firm can even think of accomplishing a full Matrix Commerce implementation, they and their organizations will have to master and implement the basics of Omni-Commerce logistics. Think of how mountain climbers get to the summit of Mount Everest, the first step in that trek is to get to Base Camp and when it comes to implementing Matrix Commerce in your organization, the first step or Base Camp is to effectively implement Omni-Commerce logistics. Continue reading…

Omni-channel Challenge Elevating the Role of Retail Supply Chain Professionals

Not only is the biggest challenge facing retail supply chain professionals today to solve the Omni-commerce Logistics Puzzle, it may also represent an excellent opportunity for supply chain professionals to elevate their roles in retail organizations.

Several of the omni-channel related presentations I attended referenced the central or critical role supply chain pros must play on an ongoing basis in order to successfully develop and roll out sustainable omni-commerce business in their organizations.

Not only are the logistics requirements to physically support such a dynamic and diverse set of delivery options for customers more complex than faced in the past, but also the inventory deployment, management, replenishment and overall order and supply chain management challenges are further complicated and magnified when serving the growing number of omni-channel consumers. Continue reading…

Logistics, Systems Key to Social Business Customer Experience

Recently IBM Connect 2014 in Orlando was a great opportunity to catch up with a number of thought leaders and frontline practitioners working every day to bring Social Business to life.

Numerous reports have been emerging showing that anywhere from 50 to 70% of both B2B and B2C sales in coming years will be driven via the web through online and social marketing channels making the movement to a social business approach a must for leading firms. Continue reading…

What is a logistics professional? – The Logistician

Q: What is a logistics professional?

A: Someone who gets sh!t done!

Logistics is much more than just warehousing and transportation… it’s about making the right things happen.

True logisticians will ask you what you want done and then will develop the logistical plan to make that objective a reality.

The Logistician

Logisticians are a sad and embittered race of men who are very much in demand in war, and who sink resentfully into obscurity in peace. They deal only in facts, but must work for men who merchant in theories. They emerge during war because war is very much a fact. They disappear in peace because peace is mostly theory. The people who merchant in theories, and who employ logisticians in war and ignore them in peace, are generals.

Generals are a happy blessed race who radiate confidence and power. They feed only on ambrosia and drink only nectar. In peace, they stride confidently and can invade a world simply by sweeping their hands grandly over a map, point their fingers decisively up terrain corridors, and blocking defiles and obstacles with the sides of their hands. In war, they must stride more slowly because each general has a logistician riding on his back and he knows that, at any moment, the logistician may lean forward and whisper: “No, you can’t do that.” Generals fear logisticians in war and, in peace, generals try to forget logisticians.

Romping along beside generals are strategists and tacticians. Logisticians despise strategists and tacticians. Strategists and tacticians do not know about logisticians until they grow up to be generals–which they usually do.

Sometimes a logistician becomes a general. If he does, he must associate with generals whom he hates; he has a retinue of strategists and tacticians whom he despises; and, on his back, is a logistician whom he fears. This is why logisticians who become generals always have ulcers and cannot eat their ambrosia.

Unknown Author

E-Commerce Success in Canada Depends on Power of Two

Customer demands for more rapid and cost effective e-commerce delivery seem to be increasing on a daily basis. In fact not a week goes by now without my speaking with retailers and etailers that since the dawn of e-commerce have successfully serviced Canada from one fulfillment operation for the country and are currently rethinking this model.

In most cases their national fulfillment operations are either positioned in Toronto or Montreal, as well as some in Vancouver, which up until now have been totally acceptable solutions. However, it definitely appears the days are numbered for a single e-commerce fulfillment operation being a viable customer delivery experience solution for all of Canada. Continue reading…

Mission: Maximize Learning on Multichannel Retailing & E-Commerce

In preparation for this year’s Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Logistics event in Orlando February 17-20th my first task was to review the program and determine priorities for which sessions to attend.

In my mind the most significant challenge facing retail logistics professionals bar none is the rapid rise of multichannel commerce and all associated complexities and surrounding issues. With this in mind I am now a man on a multichannel mission for this year’s #RILAlogistics event! Continue reading…

Matrix Commerce is Coming Will You Be Ready?

Early in January of 2012 I found myself struggling with the current terms around multi-channel, cross channel and omni-channel to adequately describe the current retail and e-commerce marketplace reality we all face.

Searching for a term that would better capture the full complexity and many drivers impacting the business, on January 3rd 2012 in a moment of epiphany I came up with the term and concept of Matrix Commerce on which topic this whitepaper is a primer.

Matrix Commerce describes the complex construct integrating marketing, sales, sourcing, pricing, profitability, service levels, delivery and consumer perceptions. Inherent in this is the notion of complete customer centricity from many of the above items extending to include customer desires for positive social outcomes relative to cause alignment and even the sustainability performance of companies they choose to do business with.

A mouthful for sure, but while you’re chewing on that start considering the types of real time and rapid processing systems which will be required to support such multi-facetted business decisions, not to mention the reams of big and not so big data that will be necessary for companies to collect in order to make them. Continue reading…

IBM Helps Retailers Deliver Consistent Brand Experience Across Expanding Consumer Buying Channels

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new marketing and sales innovations that will allow retailers to deliver a consistent shopping experience for consumers across multiple touch points — from the store, mobile and online. IBM’s global survey of 26,000 consumers announced today revealed that 35 percent of consumers are considering diversifying the way they buy goods and services in the future.

To meet these rising demands, IBM is introducing new software that serves the rise of the so-called “omni-channel shopper,” those consumers who shop multiple channels and expect a consistent sales and marketing experience.

As part of the Smarter Commerce Initiative, IBM is helping retailers serve these consumers so they can shop where, when and how they want, quickly finding and purchasing the products they want, all the time viewing the retailer’s interactions with them as a service.

CMOs, CIO’s and e-commerce leaders are striving to better understand their most effective sales and marketing strategies. Their goal is to increase sales by growing average order values, conversion rates and cart sizes. IBM’s new marketing and sales technologies help achieve these goals by gaining insights into all customer interactions, buying patterns and purchases across mobile, social, online, call center, email and offline. Continue reading…

Why the CMO Needs to Bond with the Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO)

As the world of commerce continues to become more complex, volatile and socially transparent the need for a strong linkage between the CMO and the Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) grows. In our ongoing exploration to better understand this need within the emerging reality I call Matrix Commerce, last week I had an opportunity to connect with John Mesberg of IBM.

The below Q & A points capture John’s insights into the growing need for C-Level bonding between CMO and CSCO. I then wrap up with a few thoughts on some of the SCM factors CMOs may want to consider as they begin to build out this relationship facilitated by technology for enhanced brand protection and longevity.

Ashcroft: Why is it important now for the Chief Supply Chain Officer and Chief Marketing Officer to partner?

Mesberg: When it comes to both marketing and supply chain and we consider consumer demand and supply, both sides are simultaneously becoming more volatile. On the demand side, you have consumers who expect more. They expect products to be delivered more quickly than we ever envisioned in the past. Consumers expect products to be available in an hour at a local store. They expect to walk into a store and if the store doesn’t have what they want, they expect the store to fulfill that order to make the sale. So the level of expectation on the consumer side is changing. On the supply side, we’re now dealing with a global supply chain with significant commodity price fluctuations. There’s political unrest, supplier volatility, and managing the risk of those suppliers. Both the consumer and demand side are undergoing more volatility than we saw even ten years ago. When it comes to marketing, I tell my clients, CMOs and marketers are the ones responsible for making brand promises. CMOs are telling their customers what to expect of the brand, whether that’s fashion, service, etc. And to a degree, marketers are now telling the customer to not just expect a certain product, but to expect a certain experience. And ultimately, marketers are dependent on supply chain officers to fulfill that brand promise and deliver on the experience. These promises however, are becoming increasingly more difficult to fulfill due to the increase in customer expectations and the challenges faced on the supply chain side in order to deliver the product and that experience. Continue reading…