A few months ago, an acquaintance of ours who has diabetes ordered a necessary medical device through a distribution company. In the ensuing weeks, she received repeated messages from this business, telling her they still needed a doctor’s approval.
Her doctor had sent the approval many times, but the company never acknowledged its receipt until a few days ago. Then, they finally shipped the equipment. Why are we sharing this? Because it’s a compelling example of omni channel logistics gone wrong.
We’ll discuss how this relatively new field was developed to prevent frustrating and time-wasting situations like the one just described. Keep reading to learn about this beneficial innovation.
What Is Omni Channel Logistics?
“Omni” means “all” or “across all things.” Its use in the field of logistics sends an essential message to the many supply chains. Their functional units need to collaborate and communicate to ensure effective consumer service.
Omni channel logistics is a strategy for synchronizing inventory, logistics, and distribution functions. This process takes place across various sales channels. Using and adhering to this concept gives consumers a seamless purchasing and delivery experience.
At least, that’s the goal.
Some Fundamentals of Omni Channel Distribution
Let’s refine the omni channel logistics definition with an overview of a couple of key terms related to the supply and how it’s managed.
First, we’ll discuss the supply chain itself. Then, we’ll discuss the term “logistics.” Knowing these terms is essential to understanding omni channel distribution.
The Supply Chain
A supply chain is a network linking a company and its suppliers. It allows them to produce and distribute products to end-users. The supply chain also represents steps for getting the product or service from its original state to which it will be consumed.
For example, although many households use aluminum foil, few, if any, would buy it in its original state: bauxite ore. The ore must first be converted to aluminum, then pressed into foil, and then packaged and shipped for people to buy and use.
A properly optimized supply chain can lead to lower costs and faster production cycles. It also can curtail the sorts of wasted time and resources discussed at the beginning of this article.
Supply Chain Logistics
Logistics is the detailed planning and coordination of a complex operation. It involves many people, facilities, or supplies—all working toward a common goal.
However, it is not for individual participants to understand how their role fits the larger picture. Instead, it’s for the logistics team to coordinate individual workers’ parts with those of others. In other words, they must provide the necessary directions.
With omni channel distribution, logistics refers to supply chain planning and oversight. Moving and storing goods between their origination point and final destination calls for outstanding control and coordination.
Omni Channel Distribution Challenges and Benefits
The growth of omni channel distribution has introduced new efficiencies to the supply chain. Yet work is still needed to smooth the process. Among other factors is the human one.
Components of the various supply chains can potentially spread across the globe. Thus, supply chain management often encounters information and technology gaps being handled through stopgap measures.
What follows are a few categories where this has been evident.
Supply chain visibility refers to companies knowing where their inventory is at any given time. It also means knowing how well the different parts or products can be tracked from manufacturing to destination.
Companies that get omni channel distribution right use inventory visibility to forecast future demand and plan supply chain activities accordingly. Thus, filling supply chain gaps is a primary motive for improving supply chain visibility.
Manual vs. Digital Processes
The global nature of businesses and their supply chains is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you can source raw materials and finished products in different places for optimum pricing.
It’s a curse because not every country is at the same technological stage—or has the same educational access.
Even if your company has the right technical infrastructure where your workers are, it does no good if they are not prepared to use it effectively.
Reverse logistics has to do with return processes—whether that means:
- Returning impure or defective raw materials or parts
- Handling finished products consumers have returned or exchanged
- Used materials or products destined for disposal or recycling
If your company lacks a means of reversing the supply chain, we would have to conclude that the supply chain doesn’t work as well as it should.
One significant advantage of the omni channel supply chain is that it creates an “interchangeable customer experience.” From a customer’s point of view, the online store and street store are part of the same whole.
Omni channel distribution done well lays the groundwork for effective “omni channel retailing.” This newer term refers to the evolution of decades-long shopping practices. Examples include comparison shopping and using coupons.
As one source put it, “To some, it might seem that omnichannel retailing—the industry buzzword of the moment—is just a fad. In reality though, it is the new basis for maximising sales and profitability in the retail environment.”
The Omni Channel Logistics Meaning As It Applies to Couriers
The courier industry is on the rise. We occupy valuable space in omni channel logistics by specializing in last-mile delivery. This is how same day logistics add value to the supply chain.
Our capabilities include:
- Direct to store delivery/retail merchandising
- Recall management/asset recovery
- In-home room of choice/assembly
- Warehouse distribution/pick and pack
- Same-day home-delivery service and postal injection
You can see that last-mile delivery is more than simply getting someone to sign for their delivery.
A Final Word on Omni Channel Logistics
More consumers are moving to online retailers. It’s because of the pandemic and other reasons. So, supply chains keep needing to expand, adapt, and refine their processes.
Online giant Amazon.com and chain retailers like Target and Walmart make products available quickly. They do this through omni channel logistics. This practice only increases consumers’ expectations for various kinds of expedited service.
NIN already built a business serving individuals and companies that “need it now.” That’s our place in the supply chain. Do you need delivery right away? We’re on it. Reach out today!