If, like me, you never cease to be amazed at how Amazon can fulfil orders in under 24 hours, and then wonder how on earth other retailers can hope to compete, then you should find this article of interest.

A recent report by McKinsey, ‘Retail’s need for speed: Unlocking value in omnichannel delivery’ sheds light on the enormous challenges faced by omnichannel retailers in meeting the increasingly impatient delivery expectations of consumers.

Statistics in the report highlight the absolute necessity to meet these challenges, if retailers want to compete effectively. They also spotlight the associated costs and complexities in doing so too. With consumer expectations of free 1 to 2 days shipping now pervasive, and fulfilment costs running at 10% to 20% of sales, there’s no wonder this topic is at the top of the agenda for most omnichannel retailers.

The multitude of factors, data points, and analytics that must be considered when designing an efficient logistics network are immense. Considerations such as, the cost and speed of picking in-warehouse vs in-store. The levels of inventory accuracy in warehouses vs stores. Managing Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) complexities. How to address peak demands when picking in-store. Producing accurate demand forecasts. Analysing customer acceptance of delivery times based on type of product sold and customer location. Where to place distribution centres, and how to fulfil the last mile. It’s a complex and costly business, relying heavily on technology.

However, it’s not all about robotic pickers, self-driving vehicles, and drones – not yet at least. No matter how your logistics network is structured and operated, people will remain a key component for fulfilling orders - and returns - in timely, high quality and efficient manner.

Right People, Right Place, Right Time - Right Experience

In an industry where every second counts, and delivery speed and quality is often your only differentiator, ensuring you have the right people, in the right place, at the right time has never been more important. Workforce management solutions play an essential role in helping retail and logistics organisations accurately forecast customer demand, schedule labour resource, manage absences, monitor performance and ensure every employees receives accurate pay, holidays and benefits.

Just as important as delivering great service in this new future of work for retail is delivering a positive work experience for employee too. Recruiting and retaining talent is currently a huge challenge for every business. The design of logistics operations will often be determined by the pool of talent available in a location. With this in mind, and to minimise any disruption caused by absenteeism, lateness and low productivity, organisations must understand and consider the needs of their employees when planning shifts. Failing to make employees feel valued and connecting the work they perform to the benefits delivered to the customers will result in higher costs and poor performance.

At UKG, ‘Our Purpose is People’. We help organisations improve the performance of their business by helping them improve the experience for their employees. Learn more by visiting www.ukg.co.uk.


Published: Monday, 27 September 2021