The e-commerce revolution has had a massive impact on how retailers do business. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has launched its new Retail Logistics Forum to respond to the increasing supply change challenge. The Retail Logistics Forum will concentrate on the opportunities presented in multi-channel retail, and will welcome members working in retail, education, 3PLs and consultancies.
As delivery to customers becomes the key experience of many consumers and the basis of a retailer’s reputation, the fulfilment of an order becomes ever more important, explained Craig Farina, Director of Logistics for Boots, and Chair of the new Forum. He revealed the new group is to concentrate on the development of talent and best practice within the retail industry, ensuring the new Forum is a vibrant common interest community.
The new Forum discussed the opportunities and the topics it wished to address in future meetings. John Boulter FCILT, MD, DHL Supply Chain, revealed the result of its first ‘straw poll’ which highlighted members would like a group that helped to develop best practice and produce a strong output to help guide retail development in the era of omnichannel.
The first meeting was held at the John Lewis Distribution Centre at Magna Park, Milton Keynes. A highlight of the event was a tour of the facility. John Munnelly FCILT, Senior Project Manager for the Distribution Centre, explained that, though the building opened as recently as 2009, many of its processes and WMS have already been expanded and developed by the exponential growth of e-commerce.
John stressed the aim for the centre was to be ‘leading edge, not bleeding edge’, but that all retailers and distribution centre operators had to recognise ‘there is no such thing as a steady state’. John quoted Douglas Adams: ‘I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be.’ In the era of multi-channel, it’s perhaps the best goal for everyone working to support and develop retailers’ ever-changing and developing aspirations.