A distribution ERP system is crucial to supporting omni-channel retail distributors as they seek to make the buying experience seamless and simple.
According to an article on the StorefrontBacktalk website, supply chain inventory management has become increasingly complicated as companies embrace an omni-channel approach. The article highlights several areas made more complex by omni-channel, including fulfillment, same-day delivery and returns.
Whether it’s mobile, in-store or by phone, “these programs must allow shoppers to use any of the channels they want, however they want and it must be easy for them to do so,” the article explains.
A distribution ERP system plays an important role in supporting the supply chain for omni-channel retail distributors. For instance, the system must quickly determine from which distribution center to ship products. For an online or call center transaction, the ERP system should automatically perform capable-to-promise (CTP) analysis as well as determine the source of supply.
This is something that must not be relegated to a customer service agent in today’s same-day delivery environment. These processes must be done in real time by the order management system as orders are entered.
Omni-channel merchant also must rely on “one version of the truth.” All users from all environments (websites, mobile, point-of-sale terminal, etc.) must have the same real-time view of inventory in all locations.
This requires all interfaces to show current inventory levels using technologies such as real-time web services. It is no longer sufficient to have an e-commerce site that gets periodic inventory updates throughout the day or that has inventory allocated to web sales.
Integration between all systems and human assets is critical to succeed as an omni-channel retail distributor. For example, a retailer distributing products from a store must ensure that a product ordered online is immediately removed from the sales floor so that another customer does not purchase it.
In an omni-channel environment, all the various channels must be in sync, with real-time integration and processes in place. A distribution ERP system plays a key role in providing inventory information and successfully supporting a retailer’s omni-channel strategy.
Source: StorefrontBacktalk, August 2013