A few years ago, analysts predicted that the new realities of multichannel distribution were bound to trigger increased levels of automation in distribution centers across the country. They were right. In fact, automation has become the "do or die" feature of the quest to effectively manage a growing number of orders coming in from a growing number of sales channels.
The move toward a single inventory serving multiple channels within a single facility has created common flows. Those flows, in turn, have justified higher levels of automation, as well as automation of specific tasks related to the e-commerce segment.
Not surprisingly, the challenges stack up. The range of sophisticated automation and software tools will hardly revolutionize distribution if those involved – retailers, suppliers, distributors, etc. – lack the resources or knowledge to implement the systems.
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