There I said it…
‘Logistics is the new black.’
Over the last several years the word ‘logistics’ has subtly worked its’ way further and further into the common lexicon thanks to the massive marketing campaigns of certain courier, rail and forwarding companies.
And of course, as a logistics professional all of my career, nothing makes me happier than the wider world learning about and gaining a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the complex art and science which is logistics.
But being the new ‘black’ takes much more than just large advertising budgets and there are truly fundamental shifts taking place in retail and consumer markets that will put logistics capability front and center for future business success.
In many companies logistics is still often treated as the Rodney Dangerfield of corporate functions, the keepers of dark warehouses that many will never visit.
Only now are savvy merchants realizing that in their logistics function may lurk the well spring of the truly exceptional customer experience they seek, and must now deliver!
Omni-Channel is the phenomena driving the need for fully integrated, flexible and rapid logistics solutions across all shopping platforms, and all delivery modes. In the past, other than straight e-commerce order and deliver, logistics was more of a backroom function not as directly tied to the immediate customer experience.
Going forward based on the growing complexity and multiplicity of delivery options reviewed in my post ‘Emerging Options for Omni-Commerce Logistics Strategy’, all physical services and required support systems for the selected omni-channel service options will need to be in place to provide seamless forward and reverse logistics services to end customers.
Supporting all of this will require fully integrated, accurate and almost real time updated inventory and order management systems, which depending on who you speak with, cannot be successfully accomplished without item level RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) of all inventory items. Providing such an integrated retail supply chain and combined real/virtual Endless Store shopping environment will only come to those who embrace the Future of Retail as an Omni-Channel Internet of Things.
Suffice it to say, the ‘logistics’ to support all of the above is much more than what most retail companies, and even many third parties can provide today. One can only imagine the rock solid consumer relationships, competitive advantage and barrier to entry retailers in the future will be able create based on implementing successful omni-commerce logistics functionality.
Omni-channel is all about the ‘logistics’ of bringing together the needed customer facing online and offline retail experiences directly connected to product, inventory and order management back ends supported by seamless fulfillment, reserve, pick up, delivery and returns options.
Welcome to the Omni-Commerce retail future where your logistician will be a key player to have at the customer experience table, and together all will witness the emerging truth that indeed ‘Logistics is the new black.’
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