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Warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing : a multiple case study

Kembro, Joakim Hans LU and Norrman, Andreas LU (2019) In International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing. Design/methodology/approach: A multiple case study is conducted with six large omni-channel retailers from three different sectors. Findings: The study shows an increase in the number, variation and frequency of flows passing through omni-channel warehouses. Along with an increased variety of stock keeping units (including singles vs multipacks), there is an increase in the complexity of planning and coordination of order fulfillment. Retailers test a mix of different solutions for storage and picking and partly shift focus to advanced sorting operations. The companies already have or plan to invest in substantial automation systems,... (More)

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing. Design/methodology/approach: A multiple case study is conducted with six large omni-channel retailers from three different sectors. Findings: The study shows an increase in the number, variation and frequency of flows passing through omni-channel warehouses. Along with an increased variety of stock keeping units (including singles vs multipacks), there is an increase in the complexity of planning and coordination of order fulfillment. Retailers test a mix of different solutions for storage and picking and partly shift focus to advanced sorting operations. The companies already have or plan to invest in substantial automation systems, which emphasize the importance of capturing and using accurate master data. Research limitations/implications: The study highlights the need to understand the interrelations and co-development of configuration elements in omni-channel warehousing. The findings also suggest that a successful transformation requires increased collaboration with upstream and downstream partners. Conceptual models are developed to illustrate strategies and development paths in omni-channel warehousing, and suggestions for future research are summarized in a research agenda. A research limitation is the focus on Swedish retailers in three sectors (fashion, consumer electronics and DIY/construction material). Future studies can include additional sectors, extend the geographical scope and explore cross-regional differences. Practical implications: As one of the few deeper case studies on omni-channel warehousing, practitioners will find new configurations described and analyzed here. Along with conceptual models, a synthesis of challenges and potential solutions are presented to support retailers’ practical analysis and decision making. Originality/value: This is one of the first multiple case studies that go deeper into omni-channel warehouse configuration, which is of increasing importance to both scholars and practitioners in the field.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Case study, Configuration, Logistics, Material handling, Omni-channel, Retail, Sorting, Warehouse
in
International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • scopus:85077156821
ISSN
0960-0035
DOI
10.1108/IJPDLM-01-2019-0034
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
996b13b0-58c3-4423-84d4-aebd4b5f322b
date added to LUP
2020-01-14 14:20:21
date last changed
2020-01-16 04:09:33
@article{996b13b0-58c3-4423-84d4-aebd4b5f322b,
  abstract     = {<p>Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing. Design/methodology/approach: A multiple case study is conducted with six large omni-channel retailers from three different sectors. Findings: The study shows an increase in the number, variation and frequency of flows passing through omni-channel warehouses. Along with an increased variety of stock keeping units (including singles vs multipacks), there is an increase in the complexity of planning and coordination of order fulfillment. Retailers test a mix of different solutions for storage and picking and partly shift focus to advanced sorting operations. The companies already have or plan to invest in substantial automation systems, which emphasize the importance of capturing and using accurate master data. Research limitations/implications: The study highlights the need to understand the interrelations and co-development of configuration elements in omni-channel warehousing. The findings also suggest that a successful transformation requires increased collaboration with upstream and downstream partners. Conceptual models are developed to illustrate strategies and development paths in omni-channel warehousing, and suggestions for future research are summarized in a research agenda. A research limitation is the focus on Swedish retailers in three sectors (fashion, consumer electronics and DIY/construction material). Future studies can include additional sectors, extend the geographical scope and explore cross-regional differences. Practical implications: As one of the few deeper case studies on omni-channel warehousing, practitioners will find new configurations described and analyzed here. Along with conceptual models, a synthesis of challenges and potential solutions are presented to support retailers’ practical analysis and decision making. Originality/value: This is one of the first multiple case studies that go deeper into omni-channel warehouse configuration, which is of increasing importance to both scholars and practitioners in the field.</p>},
  author       = {Kembro, Joakim Hans and Norrman, Andreas},
  issn         = {0960-0035},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management},
  title        = {Warehouse configuration in omni-channel retailing : a multiple case study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-01-2019-0034},
  doi          = {10.1108/IJPDLM-01-2019-0034},
  year         = {2019},
}