Innovation is for Distribution too
Gary Hawkins, CEO, Advancing Retail
Retail industry conversation about innovation inevitably focuses on the brick & mortar store, eCommerce, or consumer-facing technologies. Meanwhile, the staid distribution center is undergoing its own transformation.
I can remember when voice-guided picking was the new thing and how space-age it seemed to have order pickers being directed by the computer behind the headset each person wore. Today, that kind of technology has become boring when we see the robotics and automation that is sweeping across distribution centers. There are case-picking robots, piece-picking robots, robots that bring merchandise to humans, and even completely automated distribution centers. Drone technology has warehouses too, with different solution providers tackling slotting errors, out-of-stocks, and other operational issues.
Some wholesalers and distributors are even acting as outsourced eCommerce fulfillment centers for their retail customers, orders being passed from the retailer’s online ordering site to the distribution center for fulfillment to the customer’s home.
And while maybe not as sexy as robotics, the latest AI and machine learning powered optimization technologies are providing significant value to distribution centers as nearly everything can be optimized, from slotting layout to order picking, in-bound product deliveries to out-bound deliveries, and even the delivery routes. AI and machine learning tech is tailor made for demand forecasting and inventory optimization as the distribution center level.
The CART team is seeing all this and more as we coordinate Innovation Program events for larger, self-distributing retailers and for significant wholesalers and distributors across different product lines and categories.
If you’re a self-distributing retailer or a dedicated wholesaler / distributor give CART a call to learn about what’s new. And if you’re a solution provider relevant to distribution, check in with us to learn about the Innovation Program events we’ve got coming up.
About the Author
CART is Advancing Retail by connecting the industry to innovation. Retailers, wholesalers and brands utilize CART to find, research and connect with solutions appropriate for their businesses. Solution providers use CART as a go-to-market tool that connects them directly to their target retail audience, all the way into the brick and mortar store itself. CART has unparalleled insight into what’s next in retail and shares this information regularly through multiple channels.
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