Article | October 11, 2017

Why Legacy Material Handling Systems Stunt Omni-Channel Growth

Source: More from Less
Retail's Future

By Michael Gorges, More from Less

Yesterday, today and tomorrow.  As supply chain professionals, we are faced with having to meet the challenges of the most rapidly changing environment witnessed in more than a generation.  Ecommerce is being thrust upon us at a breakneck speed.

Tomorrow.  There is now a huge variety of material handling technology options out there – incredible innovations in robotics, sophisticated planning software, and IoT capabilities. Omni-channel distribution is the future, and the technology to achieve it efficiently is at our fingertips. Particularly impressive is the promise of great versatility when it comes to the variation in packaging size, volume, and type inherent in omni-channel shipping.  But this requires investment and time to get these systems installed and operational.

Yesterday.  What about the huge legacy of material handling technology already in place for retailers – hundreds of DCs, decades of history and investment, countless ‘bolt on’ additions to help drive efficiency when full-scale replacement is cost-prohibitive?  Within these systems are sources of costs hidden below the surface because they aren’t built for the demands and speed being faced in today’s supply chain...