I attended the CSCMP Chicago Roundtable program on this
subject on October 10. The program was
held at the Motorola Solutions Innovation Center in a Chicago suburb, more
about the center later.
A panel of industry experts each gave a brief statement of
their views as to why Omnichannel is an important issue for supply chain
companies in the consumer products area or those companies that serve them in
any way. Then they answered many
questions from the audience on this topic.
Robert Howard of Kurt Salmon moderated the discussion and
started by recognizing how mobile devices have changed the retail experience
for consumers and thus the retailers themselves. Today’s retail customer may be texting,
tweeting, and comparing prices with other retailers while he/she is shopping in
your store. This is the basis for the
concept of Omnichannel marketing. Bob
also pointed out that there is a big gap between the retailer’s view of
consumer satisfaction in the retail environment and the view of the actual
Rick DiMaio of Office Depot talked about some of the
initiatives that Office Depot has underway to give control to the retail
customer. He cautioned that features
such as same day delivery (see my blog from August 13) need to be evaluated
based on its cost versus the consumer benefit. Rick then mentioned that he sees
retailers looking for potential partners – 3PL’s, delivery services, and even
other retailers – to be able to meet consumer expectations cost effectively.
Mike Wohlwend from
SAP Americas raised what I thought was a very interesting question – will same
day delivery drive companies to more U.S. manufacturing? Mike discussed how SAP is working with its
clients to tap into multiple data sources to provide very fast analysis.
Jeff Starecheski from Sears Holdings talked about how Sears
is now evaluating the cost of delivery from multiple stores and DC’s to
determine the lowest cost, best service combination for each customer
order. Jeff also suggested that supply
chain people will have to view their activities through the commercial lens,
not just the traditional SC focused view.
Mike Maris of Motorola Solutions talked about some of the devices
and technologies that Motorola is developing for retailers to better serve
customers and run their operations more efficiently. He hosted the tour of the Innovation Center
where we saw everything from voice-activated devices for use in warehouses to
new scanning and in-store devices that allow for direct consumer
interaction. For any history buffs,
there is an interesting exhibit of the first military 2-way radios that
Motorola developed in the 1940’s.
With the support of the CSCMP Chicago Roundtable and program
chair – Jen Theisen, I was able to bring 15 students from the Illinois
Institute of Technology to the event.
They are all interested in careers in supply chain so this was a great
learning opportunity for them.