Flexibility and Agility are Essential in an Omni-Channel Business Model

Consumer-centric” is the key to success in today’s omni-channel environment. As retailers strive to meet consumer demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels—brick and mortar locations and online—the winners will be material handling professionals who understand the need for new approaches to distribution and fulfillment centers.

“Over the past 10 or 15 years, we’ve seen traditional retailers add e-commerce to their business, which means they had to re-configure distribution centers to handle picking and packing one or two pieces shipped directly to the consumer versus cases shipped to a store,” says Jeff A. Mueller, vice president of MHI member Sedlak. However, in the past five years, a new approach has emerged, he adds. “The demand to re-configure centers has morphed into a demand to create facilities that can handle retail, wholesale and direct-to-consumer in the same location, pulling from the same inventory.”

“The changes affect the entire organization—facilities, equipment, technology and people,” adds Patrick Sedlak, principal of Sedlak. “Agility is paramount to supporting omni-channel requirements because the environment is constantly changing.”

By Sheryl Jackson

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