Interactive Workshop Helps Attendees Simplify the Vendor Selection Process
Many companies are either experimenting with retail stores or have at least a store or two to liquidate overstocks. Software companies such as MICROS-Retail, Junction Solutions and Escalate Retail (Ecometry) are capable of the large chain store operation functions through their parent companies’ products. Projects are underway to integrate functionality.
The key today is how integrated the retail functions for marketing, merchandising, store operations and warehousing are. Other vendors have developed partnerships where a smaller number of stores can be supported.
Multiple Location Inventory
A number of companies talked about needing the ability to track multiple location inventories. For the larger companies, this functionality needs to handle multiple warehouses with the same SKUs. Business rules must address which warehouse will fill customer orders and how to handle split order availability — namely, the inability to ship complete from the warehouse nearest the customer.
For smaller companies, multiple locations are also a reality where bulk stock may be held off-site from the main fulfillment center. Multiple locations (both bulk and forward picking) are needed in large and small companies.
Items offered from drop-ship vendors are increasing at a rapid pace in many companies. Many e-commerce companies have relationships with their key product vendors to have them ship directly to customers. Some of the companies in attendance said they’ve developed their own systems to download customer orders to vendors and send confirmations back upstream to the retailers’ customer service files.
Several other companies said they’re pleased with the drop-ship vendor capabilities that VendorNet provides. Drop-ship merchandise is a great way to expand your merchandise offering with minimal inventory cost if you can make the operations seamless between you and vendors.
Total Cost of Ownership
While the vendor provides pricing for its licenses, hardware, software and services, it probably doesn’t reflect the total cost of ownership. It’s not that the vendor is deceptive. It’s that projects take longer to implement. Training takes longer; other terminals and servers need to be replaced to take full advantage of the system. With the advent of Software as a Service (SaaS), now companies need to do their financial due diligence to see whether SaaS or in-house licensed products makes the most sense.