Omni-channel consumerism presents a tremendous challenge to both domestic and global logistics because it requires a merging of supply chains and infrastructures, says Fab Brasca, vice president of global logistics for JDA Software.
As online sales continue to grow, this business can no longer be treated as a separate operation with a separate supply chain, he says. "Companies are having to find ways to leverage their existing infrastructure to serve all channels, which means really rethinking how they approach the overall transportation problem," he says. The goal must be to not only lower costs, which has traditionally been the biggest driver of transportation decisions, but also to increase agility, he says. "Companies need to ask: What kinds of things can I do to make my end-to-end transportation chain more agile and how can I better leverage my partners to create agility," he says. "It is a big challenge."
Trying to manage separate buckets of transportation - inbound and outbound, domestic and international - will no longer work, Brasca says. "You have to look at transportation overall, with a holistic perspective. When you break down these functional or departmental walls, you can find synergies that you may not have seen before."
One example of breaking down walls and expanding the use of existing assets to drive value and create agility is in the merging of local routing and national routing capabilities, Brasca says. "Many companies have trucks that do local deliveries, but these local fleets have not been used for anything else," he explains. "By combining routing capabilities, the can begin to use these trucks for such things as local inbound pickups, which expands the use of their assets."
Says Brasca: "We are in an age where an abundance of data is available and it is important to give the user the power to configure that data in digestible chunks."
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