The Retail Hive Fulfilment Leaders 2021: Takeaways from the tables

Omnichannel Fulfilment
Moderated by Manhattan Associates
Storytellers: New Look, Boots

  • We are all feeling the same pain
  • Invest in a key system to best understand and have visibility of stock locations & numbers
  • Moving from rapid agility to a long-term sustainable in store fulfilment model
  • You need a single view of stock across stores and DC
  • De-centralise
  • Stock visibility is key to utilising other channels stock
  • Local hubs to support store fulfilment
  • Order management – mitigating cost sales is key to business case
  • Comforting that we’re all in the same boat; also it’s time to look at systems. One must fit us!
  • Investment is key
  • Inventory visibility and routing of orders is a common challenge
  • In the current climate having an omnichannel proposition is critical to enable a decentralised fulfilment network
  • Future collaboration to use the network in between the retailers
  • Missed sales by SKU by hour – gaps
  • Challenges of cross border returns and systems where stock is not integrated (retail/ecommerce)
  • Leverage store stock to ensure never losing a sale. 
  • Omnichannel fulfilment can open new channels reaching and increasing customers but at the same time challenge customer experience e.g returns
  • Returns are as hard as fulfilment. 
  • Review distributed demand capacity vs customer proposition
  • Pick ecomm orders from stores  – Deliveroo, what can that do for us? 
  • Easier to recruit for stores, DC to maintain fulfilment because of labor shortage

Optimising inventory, space and resource
Moderated by Manhattan Associates
Storyteller: John Lewis

  • Christmas will be very tough – there’s not enough resources but similar/same customer expectations
  • “Labour challenges” is the biggest theme today
  • How should we commit to long-term change on limited information/certainty
  • Labour rate for peak
  • Seems like a different world!
  • We’re all in the same boat
  • What will it all look like in January?
  • Labour requirements need to meet customer expectations


Evolution of Delivery Models
Moderated by Stuart
Storytellers: Farfetch, OddBox & Screwfix

  • Balance between green and speed? Customers want to pick a sustainable option if available
  • Consumers want choice but are flexible
  • Exposure of data at checkout for greener use of final mile vehicles
  • How do we promote a ‘sustainable’ delivery service and make it land as ‘premium’
  • Considering offering sustainable delivery options in checkout
  • Important to truly understand the customer 
  • Capacity demands and challenges and how close influence delivery and fulfilment offers
  • Insuring to put the customer needs first
  • Offer wide variety of choices to suit different shopping missions
  • Is convenience more important than speed?
  • Sustainability is increasingly important for retailer and customers
  • Huge issue around HGV drivers/warehouse workforce 
  • Need a premium option but price it sensibly
  • Push green delivery options
  • Hard to know what customer expectations on delivery really are
  • With sustainable delivery options don’t guarantee a date + collate deliveries together
  • Sustainability vs speed – What does a customer want in a post pandemic world & what are people willing to pay – Only time will tell
  • The customer still rules in final mile delivery options
  • Sustainability is key but not all customers will pay for it
  • Millennials want speed and ship from store is a solution
  • We don’t know yet what all our customers will want
  • Need to listen to our customers, what options do they want?
  • Plethora of data and services, how do we cut through it and simplify?
  • Give customers choice: same day, next day, standard
  • Choice is king, collaboration, honesty and trust are needed to solve issues together
  • Commerce products of retailers irrespective of vertical
  • Plenty of choice for carrier management
  • Choice is key. Manage expectations instead of problems
  • Nobody knows what the future will be and what customers want
  • Consumer behaviour needs to be altered?? To create a more joined up and collaborative approach so that different flexible delivery options can be explored
  • The ‘right’ delivery model comes down to your business model and you customer expectations. We as companies also need to manage customer expectations and intervene?

People, Peak & Agility
Moderated by DHL
Storytellers: John Lewis, Kingfisher & Joules

  • Prepare the business for change in proposition options
  • How to forecast the shortfalls in orders & imports pre-Christmas is impossible
  • Christmas sounds like it’s going to be tough
  • Wages need to increase
  • Peak is going to be bloody hard for all of us
  • We’re likely to see fundamental and permanent changes to labour and wages
  • Flexibility of peak / temporary labour contracts
  • Lease automation equipment 
  • Flexible automation
  • Career prospects and development opportunities are now readily available in logistics and supply chain
  • 3PL partners need to lead collaboration across customers
  • Flexibility in labour plan
  • Creative incentives to retain/recruit are needed
  • Future of labour calls for flexibility
  • What non monetary incentives can we give to staff?
  • Increase automation to reduce resource pressure
  • Flexible working incentives for warehouse staff
  • To service peak we need to be more flexible and adaptable to ensure we have enough resource to meet the business demands


Sustainability in the Supply Chain
Moderated by DHL
Storytellers: Vivobarefoot, Crew Clothing & Fruugo

  • Optimize inbound packaging even if the customers don’t see it
  • Behaviour! Behaviour! Behaviour!
  • Sustainability is not tipping the balance between cost and it’s desirability
  • Shoe refurbishment 
  • FOJ recycling
  • Need to plan for the future and prepare sustainability statement for your website
  • A lot of companies are at the start of their journeys – new board buy in
  • Definition & measurement design in
  • Small things are a start
  • Collection of ‘other’ packaging when delivering new parcels
  • We all have reporting cost issues
  • We don’t yet know what customers want
  • Just start small as this will make the difference
  • Customers need educating in sustainability
  • Share successes, measurement and transparency as this is the only way behaviours will change
  • There’s a lack of education around packaging material
  • Celebrate the successes and each small amount adds up
  • Interesting variations on packaging, we are all interested in the same theme
  • Customer choice – Do you want it quick or do you want it green? Will there be a quick / green solution?
  • Everyone needs to buy into it
  • We can’t all do everything, but we can all do something
  • Always question
  • Opportunities are enormous
  • Everyone can do something to be more sustainable, you don’t need to be perfect to do something
  • Check packaging and product sustainability credentials. E.g. Validate suppliers and certificates etc
  • Start doing what you can today to get ready for tomorrows requirements
  • Purpose over profit


Collaboration in Fulfilment
Moderated by Wincanton
Storytellers: Eve Sleep, Ann Summers & Dobbies

  • Understand each others needs and customer expectations and turn it all on its head
  • What is the motivation behind collaboration? Cost reduction or enhanced customer service?
  • The sense of a new beginning in collaboration
  • 3PLs have a key role to play in being product / brand agnostic to bring efficiencies to retailers
  • Collaboration builds trust in customer service /experience. Always moving – red line for data sharing
  • Share ideas with similar retailers to enhance the operations & customer experience
  • Collaboration has cost and environmental benefits, but the initial step requires a degree of trust between retailers and further discussions
  • Collaboration in supply chain and logistics can not only enable cost savings but also empower sustainability solutions
  • Using tools and solutions that allow brands to share resource and capability
  • The questions should not be ‘can we collaborate’ it should be ‘what is stopping us’? 
  • Collaboration = nourishment. 
  • Sharing of knowledge and experience needs to come about by breaking down barriers.
  • Collaboration is essential as our industry pushes capacity and faces increasing legislation.
  • We need agreed standards as prerequisites for collaboration across our eco-systems. 
  • We will have to collaborate due to resource and sustainability.
  • How to increase the level of international collaborations and localisation. 
  • How to take the Hive experience into the real world and build trust. 
  • Collaboration is education and the key to the future.  
  • Developing the role of the 3PLs to collaborate amongst themselves and drive value for the customer
  • Collaborate with other retailers and brands to consolidate and improve operations
  • Taking relationships beyond KPIs… depends on non-competitive partners
  • Not willing to work collaboratively with direct competitors, 3PL should mediate
  • Can 3PLs generate transport savings?
  • Shared urban consolidation centres
  • Driven by 3PLs and like minded brands
  • 3PLs should share knowledge
  • John lewis and amazon – brave bold as a result of a borrowing platform… time to think differently
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