As omni-channel becomes an industry standard, rather than a trend, many supply chain businesses are increasing in complexity. Most omni-channel retailers and their supply chain partners manage an average of three separate sales channels. The movement of inventory across these channels is what causes many issues in fulfilling orders, processing returns, and general order management. In a recent survey 42% of respondents said they want the option to return purchases made online at in-store locations. This is just one of many signals showing how the proliferation of omni-channel retailing is changing the way consumers shop.

What makes this already complex network of sales channels even more intricate is the use of multiple inventory management solutions within a single supply chain. Two-thirds of SCM businesses employ more than one order fulfillment system, 8 out of 10 use several order management systems, and an average of 2.7 systems including ERP, WMS and OMS are used by each retail supply chain service provider. This supply chain complexity is due to the increase in business acquisitions in the supply chain community. Nearly 50% of manufacturers have been involved in at least one acquisition. In many cases, existing supply chain management solutions continue to be used rather than consolidated into one system across all facilities.

Using multiple inventory management solutions within one supply chain enterprise causes deficiencies in supply chain visibility. Nearly half of businesses surveyed report that their current technology does not have the capability to provide them with enough data to effectively execute their omni-channel fulfillment strategies. Because of this many supply chain operators are re-evaluating current solutions and opting for new, best-of-breed technology. Implementing one functionally robust system helps to provide a holistic view of inventory, allowing retailers to more effectively, efficiently and accurately fulfill customer orders.

Learn more about areas for order fulfillment improvement today by contacting Datex supply chain experts.

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