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The research concluded that retailers are making some great strides in their quest to offer a truly multichannel service, but all, without exception, still have a long way to go before they can claim their multichannel operations are fully optimised. It also found that, although businesses face similar challenges, there was a wide divergence of opinion on how to deal with them. For example, many wanted to present a consistent offering, but others maintained that web channels should be treated differently to others for the opportunities they provide to extend ranges and trial new lines. Led by Christina Bekiari in her work

towards an MSc at the Cranfi eld School of Management, and under the supervision of Alan Braithwaite, visiting professor in supply chain management at Cranfi eld and executive chairman at LCP Consulting, the research was conducted in association with supply chain software company Manhattan Associates. Its suggestions – put together following in-depth interviews with key retail and third- party (3PL) players – include ‘move towards click-and-collect’ and ‘don’t over extend your range’. Steve Robinson, chief

executive offi cer of online discount clothing retailer, commented: “The rise of the internet and e-commerce has enabled changes in the way retailers do business. Through the wealth of consumer knowledge and ability to make things happen in the supply chain in real- time, retailers have the opportunity of doing different things or things differently.” revealed last December it had deployed Manhattan’s warehouse management system at its new 290,000-square-foot distribution centre (DC) in Hereford. The deployment enabled it to transition its fulfi lment processes to the new DC and use inventory barcodes via radio frequency (RF) to improve stock management and accuracy, reduce paperwork and, for the fi rst time in the business’s 22-year history, complete Christmas stock preparation ahead of schedule. plans to benefi t from Manhattan’s additional functionality, including voice picking, in the near future.

esearch by the Cranfi eld School of Management has identifi ed 10 ‘good practices’ for retailers operating across

The 10 top tips for multichannel retailing identifi ed by the Cranfi eld research are: 1. Always have complete stock visibility: nothing else matters without the ability to see is in stock and where it is.

2. Be clear on the customer proposition to ensure all processes are focused on achieving the right goals.

3. Integrate multichannel systems – all channels are linked via the customer, so an organisation must link them in the back-offi ce as well.

4. Promote click & collect: this gains more value from customers but requires physical channel integration.

5. Manage ranges: while it is easy to fi ll space on a website, fulfi lment of an ‘endless aisle’ can be problematic.

6. Build partnerships across the supply chain to make processes easier to execute. 7. Prioritise forecasting and planning. 8. Keep similar stock together – don’t split items by channel, it distorts visibility of stock levels and lowers agility.

9. One order equals one delivery: make sure that order, regardless of how many items it has, is fulfi lled as one delivery. It is ultimately cheaper and better for the customer.

10. Maintain price consistency – unless your goal is to drive customers to one channel or another, prices should be kept consistent.

DM London’s Rolex shop, Hyde Park, London

Luxury and designer watch retailer DM London has chosen to replace Eurostop with Futura’s electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) retail management solution to deliver ongoing improvements to customer service with real time stock availability across its channels. The multichannel implementation across DM London’s retail, concession and online

business, including The Watch and The Watch among others, will be central to operations, supporting buyers and managing stock, replenishment and allocations in every channel. It will also provide real-time stock availability across a number of partner websites including online fashion giant ASOS, Selfridges and John Lewis. Andrew Pratt, IT manager of DM London, said: “We are also interested in Analyser, Futura’s business intelligence reporting tool for fl exible dynamic reporting and are looking to pilot Futura’s planned RFID [radio frequency identifi cation] offering to help with our stock taking.”


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