F. Curtis Barry & Company Blog

Direct to Consumer: What is Your Competition Up To?

PARCEL Forum 15

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 20th 12:00-12:50 pm, OL504 MEGA SESSION, 

Presenter: Curt Barry, President, F. Curtis Barry & Company

Title: Direct To Consumer: What is Your Competition Up To?

Customers and competition are driving a sea of change in American retailing. E-commerce has increased competition to sell product by manufacturers, retailers, direct merchants, foreign companies, to name a few. More than 50% of all in-store purchases start with an online inquiry; mobile has become the fastest growing channel. As we cater to customer omnichannel shopping preferences, major tactical changes are required to ship orders to stores, ship orders from stores and DCs, place e-Commerce and phone orders to pick up at store with no shipping and handling fees, processing web returns at stores and processing returns for free. Additionally, customers want delivery to be fast and “free” at a time when UPS and FedEx have forced changes through their charges based on DIM weight. The “small order nature” of direct orders and returns requires highly efficient operations to make money and provide high customer service.

Come hear Curt Barry, one America’s leading direct-to-customer fulfillment consultants, present 10 Operations Tactics your company must master to be competitive in the direct-to-customer marketplace. Here are a few of the issues that Curt will address:

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7 Important Order Management System Agreement Points

It is amazing how many companies don’t look at vendor's order management system license agreements very closely. These are binding legal documents and without close review of payment terms, deliverables, schedules, termination options, etc. you could be putting your company at risk for losing thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars.

There are two major aspects to these license agreements:

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Topics: order management system

Inventory Management System, Availability Key to Omnichannel Shopping

For national retail chains that want to grow ecommerce as omnichannel businesses, there are three inventory management systemelephants in the room. The first is of course the behemoth of Amazon.com, with its far-reaching tentacles. Next is the customer’s ability – and preference – to shop anytime, anywhere and from any device of their choosing.

While both are truly big challenges, the biggest elephant of all is the retailer’s own supply chain and infrastructure. More specifically, it’s their inventory management system, and the need to make inventory availability a customer-facing application (see elephant #2 above).

I’m not chiding big retail. Make no mistake – my bet is on big retail. But the magnitude of these system changes and other supply chain requirements will burden IT management and the future earnings of many companies. The problem is the first two elephants are driving the sea of change, and there can be no going back without severe sales losses.

Here are some reasons why inventory management systems and inventory availability is the biggest elephant of all:

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Topics: inventory management system

Do You Really Need All Those Order Management System Modifications?

Recently we had a chance to follow up with a client and vendor on the outcome of their seven-month order management system modificationsimplementation negotiated last year. There are some unique lessons learned about making modifications to  an order management system; or an ERP or warehouse management system for all of us.

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Topics: order management system

Guidelines for Order Management System Scripted Demos

One of the most important aspects of selecting any order management system is actually getting a demo of the vendor’s application. There are a couple of different approaches to demos; depending on where you are in the system selection process. One is used to get the general feel for a system early in the search process and lasts one to two hours. What you get is a high-level overview of a few of the system’s functions.

The second type of demo, which is what the focus of this post is about, is much longer taking a day or possibly a day and a half; depending on the complexity of your business. This longer demo is used to select the finalists after vendors have responded to your Request For Proposal (RFP).

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessment: 17 Last Minute Changes before Christmas

For operations professionals in multichannel companies, we all know the drill, the risks and rewards of Christmas. While the time for changing the warehouse layout or adding storage capacity or automation may be past, here are 17 important last minute ideas an operational assessment will identify that everyone can implement to improve productivity and reduce costs.

While conducting hundreds of operational assessments for clients, we have found that the highest benefit areas you can affect during the Holiday season are managing labor better (it’s more than 50% of your cost per order) - in particular the pick and pack departments which are more than 50% of your labor costs. Also, working with shipping carriers - probably your highest overall cost – on your Christmas plans pays off too.

Here are our top 17 picks to improve your operation this Christmas:

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Topics: operational assessment

Operational Assessment Can Rid Negative "Tribal Knowledge" in DC

We all know the value of our employees, department and senior managers to our businesses. Within most operational assessmentwarehouses you can find staff that is dedicated and has longevity with the company. These individuals can most likely tell you exactly where most SKUs are located in the warehouse, which vendors have the most vendor compliance issues, and who the fastest pickers and packers are. This type of knowledge, “tribal knowledge”, is what makes things click in the warehouse.

But for many companies, a negative form of tribal knowledge is a detriment to the short term and long term health and throughput of a company.

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Topics: operational assessment

Using Third Party Logistics For A Successful Holiday Season

Getting the most from your third party logistics (3PL) provider this Holiday season starts with your forecasting accuracy. In order for you to get the most from your 3PL provider you need to have established measureable service levels that are agreed to by both parties as part of your agreement. Establishing these service levels and having the 3PL vendor meet them requires that you supply realistic forecasts for calls and order volumes by day, by week a month in advance so that the 3PL vendor can plan staffing accordingly.

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Topics: Third party logistics

How Can an Operational Assessment Alleviate $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage?

The Republican debate failed to focus on this key issue that I think is brewing in this election cycle and foroperational assessment the economy. We first wrote about this topic when Seattle adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage for restaurant workers in March 2015.

Two weeks ago, news outlets sounded the alarm again about the possibility of $15 per hour minimum wage. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supports raising the federal wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want to push the minimum wage to $12 per hour. President Obama has edged up his support from $9.00 to $10.10 and now $12. Hillary Clinton backed $15 per hour for New York fast-food workers on July 24th, but hasn’t specified a wage floor for the nation. From an implementation objective, the full effect of proposed increases are often stair-stepped over 3 to 5 years.

Budget experts and many Republican candidates warn such a hike could eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.

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Topics: operational assessment

12 Mistakes to Avoid During Order Management System Selection

In our experience as consultants selecting and implementing systems we see 12 mistakes multichannel businesses make in selecting an order management system. These apply whether its order management, enterprise resource planning, warehouse management or website development platforms that you are selecting. How do these mistakes manifest themselves and lead to failure of a project?

  • 50% of the projects have budget over runs on the initial implementation

  • 50% have higher total cost of ownership than planned

  • 40% fail to deliver the expected business value and Return On Investment

Much of this heartache can be reduced or avoided if you adopt the principles outlined below:

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Topics: order management system