I see the framework required to support the omni supply chain to be a collaborative (between consumer, retailer and supply chain), flexible and robust foundation in order to support the frequency and the types of change that will be required to support the consumer lifestyle demands.  This is an extension of the changes demanded of retailers by consumers as another requirement for supporting consumer demands.  The consumer delivery marketplace is at the beginning stages of the same type of fundamental change that has been disrupting the retail omni channel marketplace to create a social shopping and purchasing marketplace.  Consumers, and especially millennials, now are expanding their focus to the delivery of goods to support their changing lifestyles.

 

These new demands require a flexible and robust framework to support the required interaction between the social networks along with an extensive interaction with carriers and then just as importantly interaction manufacturers as well.  This is where the large legacy retailers struggle the most and this is also one key reason why these legacy retailers are losing share to others.  Years ago there were two outlets (brick and mortar stores and online / catalogs) and retailers controlled the marketplace from a product offering mix and purchasing and delivery options.  These days are long gone and now these large retailers that built their model on cost containment through economies of scale are being handed their lunch by smaller and more nimble retailers. 

 

This is only one piece of the puzzle though and I think now the most important piece in this puzzle is the millennial generation growth and practices in the market.  Millennials are comfortable in the virtual world and they also experiment with combinations of offerings and services to build something that supports their lifestyle demands.  This is probably the single largest impact on the retail market.  The millennials are impatient and will not wait for the large legacy retailers to ramp up services.  This is why the flexible and robust framework is a baseline requirement to the continued success of retailers.  This framework must allow a ‘plug and play’ capability to support adding, revising and removing services as they are requested by the consumers.

 

This framework must also support and encourage a collaboration between all partners in this new social shopping and omni supply chain environment.  This means that it must encourage and respond to all partners in the marketplace and not control the response.  Unfortunately for many of the large legacy retailers they have struggled against the flexibility for so long because of the cost of investment that it may be too late for them to maintain their stature in the marketplace.  This is the upheaval in the market that we are witnessing now.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?