CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
April 24, 2019
Forward Thinking

Report: retailers plan to boost 2018 spending on omnichannel fulfillment, technology

Auburn study finds retailers face challenges in disruptive technology, efficient urban fulfillment, sustainability, and the role of LSPs.

Retailers are living "life in the fast lane" as they look for ways to develop, produce, and deliver products to customers quicker than ever, an industry report from Auburn University says.

In their effort to adjust to the hyper-speed omnichannel environment, retailers are trying to balance significant challenges on many levels: disruptive technology, efficient urban fulfillment, sustainability, and the evolving roles of logistics service providers (LSPs), according to the "2018 State of the Retail Supply Chain (SRSC) Report," produced by Auburn's Center for Supply Chain Innovation (CSCI).

Researchers with the university collaborated with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and DC Velocity magazine to produce this eighth annual installment of the report, conducting 21 executive interviews, collecting 62 survey responses, and contacting 61 different retailers. The research took place between October 2017 and February 2018, and focused on organizations with omnichannel capabilities, broad geographic activity, and revenues above $1 billion.

The results showed that retailers plan to make major investments in their supply chain service capabilities this year, spending more in 2018 than 2017 to improve their supply chain management (SCM) processes, expand omnichannel fulfillment capabilities, and upgrade technology. Their goal is to improve supply chain execution to gain greater agility, especially in the omnichannel fulfillment space, where speed and responsiveness are critical, according to study authors Brian Gibson, executive director of the Auburn CSCI, and Lisa LaBruno, RILA's senior vice president for retail operations.

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