The omni channel retailer requires a means to coordinate and control the flow of inventory across the extended supply chain network to support the changing demands is purchasing and delivery.  The most effective means to support this requirement is through a control tower type of software that can bring all of the disparate parts of the extended supply chain together for viewing and action.  In order to succeed in this market retailers must have an overview of their network in order to more accurately forecast and plan requirements across the channel. This control tower will also provide a means to redirect inventory to locations as required by demand and sales.  This increases inventory efficiencies and also reduces the overstock inventory currently required to overcome market and location sales fluctuations. 


Retailers must come to grips with the new omni channel reality that has been developed and implemented by consumers.  This means that retailers must stop fighting consumer omni channel demands and trying to force them into methods and processes that meet their current model and embrace the change to determine what needs to change to meet the omni channel demands.  This is where the control tower concept will come into play to allow the retailer to view their supply chain from a overview.  This view will allow retailers to make decisions based on their demand chain, the combination of both eCommerce sales and deliveries and retail store sales and deliveries. 


This omni channel control tower will provide an integration layer that will bring information together from disparate systems allowing the retailer to develop new understanding of consumer demands due to the more complete view of the consumer sales demands by delivery channel along with the supply chain capabilities to support the demands.  This will also support the change to the retail store model to increase inventory storage and reduce selling floor space by simplification of the inventory management control across the chain.  The effective omni channel retail model requires an omni channel inventory model in order to adjust to the changing demands of consumers and the omni channel inventory model requires a control tower integration layer to bring together the information from many disparate systems and partners.


It is too great a challenge and there is too little time for retailers to replace their legacy systems in an attempt to support changing consumer demands. The large legacy retailers and especially department store retailers have been struggling to come to grips with the omni channel retail market and have missed opportunities along the way.  These retailers cannot afford to mistep now in revising their omni channel strategy and must focus on redefining the store to support consumer purchase delivery across channels and implement a control tower integration layer to capture and utilize demand and sales information to support the demands.


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?