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For a long time retailers believed shopping was about having the product when the customer walks in. Hence, the process was geared to maximize the retail outlet efficiency. Then came e-commerce – a model where the customer is at the core of the process. Sellers now need to refocus from their stores to the customer experience. Often, they need to straddle both these formats – the omni channel experi- ence. And therein is the challenge – to reconcile two models with dif- ferent focus. One blessing we have in India is – we have not embraced palletization. Therefore, our DCs are geared to ship one product, with- out having to de-palletize!

As I look at the rise of omni-channel sales, I wonder if we will invest in supply chains that are geared to a specific channel. Again, the location of our DCs are governed by either tax efficiency or proximity to stores. E-comm, on the other hand can theoretically ship across the country from a single warehouse. But immediacy of fulfilment is a constraint. For e-comm players, innovative collaborations are needed to get over this constraint. For example, the immediate orders can be shipped from a nearby store, while the slower deliveries can be from a central warehouse.

 Immediacy requirements in E-commerce supply chains will result in acceleration of movement of inventory through the supply chain. Apart from supply chain visibility and an ability to track the move- ment of products, speed and ease flow through the supply chain are important. The twin foci are inventory velocity through the supply chain and time compression due to immediacy. Cutting corners in in- vestments will lead to delays and customer frustration. We need to re- build our e-commerce supply chains. Else, give way to newer players. From this issue on we are experimenting with a digital format. We hope to increase our reach leveraging technology. Anyone wishing to access an – copy, please register at our re-vamped website – www.scmpro.co.in. Look forward to seeing you in cyber space.

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The Institute of Supply Chain Management is India`s premier supply chain education, research, and consulting firm. ISCM was established in the year 2009 as a center for excellence in supply chain management and logistics. To augment our efforts to reach a wider audience, we at ISCM floated a media arm - ISCM Media.

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