Q&A: How are Retailers Using Tech to Support the Connected Supply Chain?

The future of retail is mobile, especially when it involves the hands-on delivery from the factory to the customer. In today’s retail landscape, online demand is increasing. Companies are looking to implement mobile technologies across key areas of the supply chain to improve operational efficiency and ensure the real-time, accurate delivery of products.

To dig deeper into the implementation challenges retailers face, we asked Director of Android Channel and Business Development Jim Dempsey (JD) and Senior Account Manager Greg Berger (GB) some questions about trends in the industry. Here’s what they had to say:

Are retailers investing in last mile delivery? What’s driving those investments?

JD: Over 52 percent of the cost of a transaction is incurred in the last mile, and that’s because of the labor and transportation costs associated with it. The last mile lacks visibility, resulting in a lot of people losing track of their products when tracking technology is not in place.

So, the industry is making a big investment in the last mile to put real time tracking devices, barcode scanning and other signature capture technologies in place so shipping can be tracked all the way through the supply chain to the end user. From a retailer’s perspective this investment grants better visibility, reduces costs and more efficiently routes deliveries.

How are retailers optimizing and reducing their costs without sacrificing customer service or increasing processing time?

JD: With so many costs incurred on the last mile, one of the ways in which retailers are optimizing and reducing their costs is by optimizing transportation. Having a platform that gives visibility into the capacity and capabilities of not only traditional carriers, but also other types of carriers, can help retailers reduce transportation costs while keeping delivery satisfaction rates high.

When working with customers on last mile delivery solutions, what do you typically recommend?

JD: One important thing is having the right application. The second piece is having the right mobile device, like a tablet or handheld, which our team recommends based on a customer’s use case. The third piece is all about having the right network connection because without connectivity, there is no real time visibility.

We work with customers to determine what type of service, carrier and setup they need for wireless so we can make sure the customer is getting a complete solution.

Why is the yard such a critical piece of the connected supply chain?

JD: The yard is a critical piece in making sure that the flow of products happens on a real-time basis. Being able to effectively track what’s coming in and going out, staging it appropriately and getting it to the right dock door at the right time to fill orders and shipments going out the other side of the facility is important. Having a flexible platform that can run on any type of device, whether it’s Windows or Android, is also important.

How does Panasonic help retailers and logistics companies create a connected supply chain?

GB: When using a Panasonic mobile device, users have access to a limitless amount of information. Users can also determine the scope of information each worker should get and whether the information should be siloed to one group or be open to many. This capability allows for a more effective workplace and worker productivity. The information also allows customers to see where their assets are instantly.

The above responses were taken from Panasonic’s NRF video series and have been slightly updated for clarity and length. To watch the videos, click here and here.

To learn more about Panasonic’s solutions for retailers, visit: https://na.panasonic.com/us/industries/retail.