How To Maximize Your Omni Supply Chain Strategy

Read time: 7 mins
How To Maximize Your Omni Supply Chain Strategy

Sixty-nine percent of companies report lacking full visibility in their supply chain, compared to only 6% that have it. A lack of visibility can create struggles in your omni supply chain, as can other common problems, such as rising costs and poor communication.

These issues have real consequences because your operations revolve around the fluidity of your supply chain. Without the right insights, you risk falling behind the competition and losing customers. Conversely, focusing on your supply chain management provides a competitive edge and increases client satisfaction.

In a complex enterprise, you need a comprehensive supply chain strategy. The omnichannel approach has helped many enterprises dominate their market — see how you can leverage the maximum potential of this strategy for your own organization.

Key takeaways:

  • An omnichannel supply chain offers the integrated solution that customers desire and is superior to a multichannel setup.
  • An omnichannel strategy can be challenging to implement without focusing on the customer, improving communication, managing inventory well, and creating reliable forecasts.
  • Business Spend Management (BSM) software can automate and simplify your omni supply chain strategy.

What is the omni supply chain?

An omni supply chain is a system of manufacturing and delivering products and services that seamlessly incorporates all physical and digital channels to meet customer demand. Companies must set objectives and create processes that allow sales departments, warehouses, fulfillment centers, and operations to cooperate in serving both online and brick-and-mortar commerce.

How does omnichannel differ from multichannel?

On the surface, omnichannel and multichannel supply chains may appear the same. Both provide consumers with multiple purchasing channels. However, each strategy has differences and advantages.

Multichannel was the original way companies began offering online purchases. Online and physical store operations have separate sales, warehousing, and transportation.

A multichannel system is fairly easy to implement. However, it can create a disconnect with customers when the prices and features online vary from an in-person store.

A customer may also get upset over the inability of representatives at a company’s physical location to handle questions and concerns about online issues. Managing multiple streams for product and service fulfillment may strain a company’s resources.

In contrast, an omni supply chain brings everything into one unified experience. Customers have the option to choose the channel of their choice.

An excellent example is Walmart. The grocery and retail giant’s website was once a separate operation from its in-store offerings, functioning in a multichannel system. was essentially a small online marketplace that had little connection with its local stores.

In time, Walmart melded its in-store shopping with its website, allowing customers to order items for delivery or pickup within stores. The unified app and site work seamlessly to service customers, offering enhanced convenience.

What are the challenges of an omni supply chain?

An omnichannel strategy, appropriately set up and organized, has big advantages over a multichannel approach when it comes to efficiency and customer satisfaction. However, implementing such a system is often far from simple.

Management must blend the various parts of the supply chain together and find programs that allow it all to work together harmoniously. Reorganizing a supply chain to support an omnichannel strategy takes time and presents its own challenges.

One challenge relates to departmental silos: different departments often have a level of autonomy and work separately from other parts of the business. This siloing leads to communication breakdowns and problems when fulfilling orders. The delays and errors lead to frustration for customers and can harm a company’s reputation.

This siloing also prevents companies from having an overarching view of customer demand, which can lead to management allocating products to the wrong locations. Doing this creates out-of-stocks where you need supply and products taking up too much space in other areas.

Though an omni supply chain boosts profits, 81% of executives do not yet have their supply chain fit for it

Image Source:

When an organization can get granular insight into their operations through Business Spend Management and enterprise resource management software, the omni supply chain model becomes a much more efficient choice.

How can a business improve its omnichannel logistics?

Adopting the correct strategies and procedures for omnichannel logistics can benefit your business from top to bottom.

Focus on meeting customer needs

You must understand your customers' and partners' needs and customize your supply chain to fit those needs. For instance, is the speed of delivery more important, or should you focus on having items in physical stores for demos and onsite purchases?

With business spend solutions, you can quickly engineer an omni supply chain solution that addresses the challenges and opportunities present in your business environment.

Improve communication

Poor communication can create various issues in your supply chain. A single system needs to oversee sales and stock for online and brick-and-mortar locations. The transfer of products between locations and warehouses needs to flow seamlessly. Software that everyone — from suppliers to employees — will actually want to use is necessary to ensure this seamless flow.

Adopt inventory management and forecasting

Poor inventory management can be detrimental to an organization with how it affects liquidity and access to stock. Forecasting and inventory management systems with machine learning and automation help you to make intelligent decisions that prevent bottlenecks in your omni supply chain.

Automation of aspects of an omni supply chain decreases costs, produces better work, and reduces errors

Image Source:

What tools can assist with omnichannel logistics?

Communicating well, managing inventory, and forecasting absorb a lot of your day when you are using manual processes. Time is one resource you can’t recover or afford to waste.

With the right software, you can reduce your time to design and make decisions that help you adopt or enhance your omni supply chain. The investment advances your business's processes and makes your organization more effective.

For great ideas to become effective business practices, you need strong proposals backed by real-world models. Business spend software provides data-driven insights that empower all of your supply chain modeling processes. It helps you project scenarios to understand how things might play out with different variables.

Customizable apps for your team provide access to that data and help them to communicate more freely about decisions. The resulting data visualizations make information easy to understand for all stakeholders.

Demand modeling software provides greater insight into where consumer sentiment is shifting with advanced machine learning to discern hidden patterns in buying habits. Companies can input external factors for scenario planning and far-reaching predictions. This helps control risk and reveal opportunities in a complex omnichannel system.

An investment in Business Spend Management software leads to a stronger omnichannel strategy and more confident decision-making. BSM solutions provide data-driven spend insight across procurement, supply chain, accounts payable/receivable, and treasury. This clear, multi-factor understanding keeps a company agile and responsive to the constant and inevitable shifts in supply chains.

Who can help with omni supply chain management?

You can confidently manage your omni supply chain with the right tools. Talk with the team at Coupa to discover a suite of products that enhance your supply chain intelligence.