The challenges of multi-channel logistics
Multi-channel logistics requires specific expertise. It requires the management of all of a brand’s distribution channels, all via a single platform. This particular expertise is based on three major touchpoints:
IT interfaces adapted for each distribution channel
The digital dimension is essential for the implementation of efficient multi-channel logistics. This applies just as much to an interface with the client ERP via API / EDI as it does to a connection to the web front offices of e-commerce websites or marketplaces.
Specific pick and pack processes tailored to each channel used (or even customer)
This is essential to ensure accurate logistics for any channel requirement, whether full pallets, retail logistics, customised orders for e-commerce, and even differentiated reverse logistics.
A flexible transport solution
Lastly, multi-channel logistics also relies on a flexible, multi-carrier transport solution that makes it possible to respond to all of a client’s distribution channels, to quickly respond to market developments by offering “plug-and-play” options, handle any distribution volume uplift in any channel during their respective peak seasons, and also to offer sustainable, eco-friendly solutions.
Lastly, implementing multi-channel logistics requires the implementing company to have a sound and strategic vision. Multi-channel logistics provides solutions to numerous challenges regarding the management, storage, preparation, and shipment of orders. The main challenges of this kind of logistics lie in being able to:
- Manage large order volumes through different sales channels: To meet customer expectations you need to be able to process, store and deliver large volumes of orders and also ensure their traceability.
- Send various orders to specific destinations: Depending on the sales channel used (e.g. e-commerce website, traditional physical store, marketplace) this could be to the customer’s home, to a pick-up point, in store, distribution centre, or options that are continually evolving.
- Handle orders requiring special storage conditions: Depending on the size, weight or certain specifics relating to the temperature or hazard of the products.
Services offered by multi-channel logistics service providers
Specialist service providers like Staci guarantee an agile, multi-channel supply chain inclusive of logistics and distribution solutions that comprise multiple flows, each designed specifically per channel, whether BtoB, BtoC, DtoC and e-commerce, and harmonised together under a single provider. Implementing an efficient multi-channel strategy depends on dedicated services offered by logistics specialists including:
- Supply chain management: Taking responsibility for organising inbound stock from suppliers to fulfilment centres for their storage and distribution, and the ongoing usage, efficiency and management of that inventory.
- Storage and management of returns: The receipt, triage and repair/refurbishment of unwanted, damaged or undelivered items in order to quickly make available for resale wherever possible
- Product shipment and delivery: Orders are prepared and packaged in customised, durable, and sustainable packaging before being shipped to the various points of sale and delivery.
- Transport solutions adapted to specific needs: Overnight, via ethical transport methods, dependent on the specific nature of the items shipped (e.g. volume, weight or fragility), and also to the specificities of their destination.
- Real-time order tracking: Updates to the status of orders and their delivery, tracked in real time, available 24/7
- Managing the traceability of multi-channel orders: Product traceability is ensured from entry into stock right up to delivery and beyond in the event of product recall
- Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions: Allowing you to interact with customers and optimise communication between companies, all whilst managing all process-related information.
Business sectors concerned by multi-channel logistics
Now, the vast majority of brands have combined their offline and online business and have diversified their trading channels to boost their visibility and increase revenues. In fact, many sectors such as cosmetics, trade/industrial, and even retail are directly concerned by multi-channel logistics.