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.

In her presentation, Leslie Irvin of Walmart shared that it’s critical for retail supply chain professionals to play a central role in the development and rollout of their organization’s omni-channel solutions and programs.

Jeff Starecheski of Sears Holdings warned supply chain professionals to stay involved and maintain joint governance of omni-channel programs before, during and after development to deal with the myriad of issues and unexpected costs which can arise.

One theme which seemed to pop up in almost every omni-channel presentation was that none of the presenters considered themselves experts in omni-channel and that many of the efforts they were describing in their sessions were really their initial efforts and they were continuing to refine and learn as they proceed along their omni-channel journey.

Given the increasing importance of omni-channel to retail organizations and supply chain professionals working within them highlighted by how Omni-channel Emerging as Top Retail Logistics Issue and based on growth of coverage at RILA Supply Chain year over year, perhaps there’s a need for RILA to consider additional offerings around omni-channel.

Looking forward to next year’s RILA Supply Chain 2015 when we’ll again be updated on how these supply chain leaders continue to develop the omni-channel solutions which will no doubt help define the future success of their retail organizations.


Jeff Ashcroft

This is my final blogpost for RILA Supply Chain 2014 and until we connect next year feel free to reach out to me through Twitter @JeffAshcroft or Jeff Ashcroft on LinkedIn with any ideas or comments. Look forward to hearing more on your omni-channel success at RILA Supply Chain 2015! Cheers JA