Changing the landscape of logistics

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To satisfy customer expectations on stock availability and delivery times and ensure a consistent brand experience, retailers, their suppliers and their logistics providers must integrate and automate the sharing of order and fulfilment data, he says.

Ronald Teijken, manufacturing and logistics industry marketing executive, Sterling Commerce, agrees that SCE has been affected by the increased demand for home deliveries. “One of the key elements of successful order fulfilment is the ability to capture the customer order through a flexible and innovative order management system – one that talks to all channels and inventory levels seamlessly and integrates to the complete fulfilment process to complete the whole order-to-deliver process,” he says.

He points to reverse logistics as an area of focus being driven forward by the growth in e-commerce and home deliveries. He says companies are upping their reverse logistics services as a result, and investing in SCE systems to help facilitate these order flows.

The rise of online ordering and home deliveries is driving demand for customer-driven delivery time windows. Anthony Munro-Martin, business development director at VSc Solutions, reckons customising delivery time windows has become a key focus for companies, who are looking to both cut costs and boost competitive edge.

“These may seem two contradictory requests, but we have found it to be possible,” he says. “Accurate, on-time deliveries and control of damaged and returned goods is vital to improving customer service and reducing claims.”

He points to its work with Wickes as an example. The DIY retailer has slashed its operating costs by £250,000 a year, and streamlined its delivery service, since rolling out electronic proof of delivery, vehicle tracking and integrated performance management systems.

Munro-Martin adds that this enabled the company to narrow its delivery time window from a whole day to a few hours. As a result it saw a 20 per cent reduction in late delivery claims from its customers.

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