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Category Archives: Retail & Ecommerce Logistics

Walmart Canada and SCI Open Doors On New Facility Dedicated To Fulfilling E-Commerce Orders Across Canada

SCI Canada and Walmart Canada recently announced the official opening of SCI’s largest dedicated and purpose-built Distribution Centre (DC) in Mississauga, Ontario. At approximately 450,000 square feet, the DC is the main facility dedicated to fulfilling Walmart Canada’s online orders.

From L to R: Guy Toksoy, Vice President Operations, SCI; Chris Galindo, CEO, SCI; Alexis Lanternier, Executive Vice President E-Commerce, Walmart Canada; Daryl Porter, Vice President, E-Commerce Operations and Logistics, Walmart Canada.

The new distribution centre is a flexible, scalable solution for logistics and fulfilment that is part of Walmart’s strategy to continue growing its e-commerce business in Canada. The need is there, as Walmart Canada’s flagship website walmart.ca is visited daily by over 750,000 customers.

The company sought SCI’s support to develop a customized supply chain solution that streamlines operations.

Facts about the new DC:

  • The new DC maximizes storage through a four-level, 70,000 square foot pick platform for storing and picking smaller items and pallet racking for larger and higher volume items.
  • It is equipped with state-of-the-art intelligence software that provides real-time visibility to operations and is fully integrated with SCI’s warehouse management system.
  • It boasts automation that improves capacity and uses conveyors to transport materials to one of five zones on each level and complete pick totes to a put-wall area from both the platform and pallet racks.

“The retail business is constantly evolving and becoming more complex,” said Guy Toksoy, SCI’s Vice President Operations.

“SCI’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation helps our clients meet increasing e-commerce demands, and we were excited to partner with one of Canada’s largest retailers to go beyond conventional logistic services and adapt an automated model to best suit Walmart Canada’s needs.”

“It’s exciting that shopping on Walmart.ca continues growing in popularity with our customers. We’ve been modernizing and innovating to ensure products can get to our customers in the quickest and most efficient way possible, without compromising on our everyday low prices and the quality customers expect,” said Alexis Lanternier, Executive Vice President E-Commerce, Walmart Canada.

“We’re proud to have partnered with SCI to create this distribution centre as it provides a customized end-to-end solution that suits our growing business needs.”

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About SCI
SCI is one of Canada’s leading providers of supply chain solutions that go beyond traditional logistics services. SCI’s tagline “We’ll make you even better” is a commitment today from a business that’s leading clients into tomorrow. Trusted by clients in the retail, e-commercetechnology, and healthcare sectors, SCI operates the most extensive national distribution and transportation network in Canada, consisting of 30 distribution centres coast to coast along with over 40 critical parts stocking locations and specialized white glove shipping hubs. SCI shares the learnings from the sectors they operate in, providing the audience with information to guide their supply chain to success through blog posts, case studies and white papers.

About Walmart Canada
Walmart Canada operates a chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving more than 1.2 million customers each day. Walmart Canada’s flagship online store, Walmart.ca is visited by more than 750,000 customers daily. With more than 85,000 associates, Walmart Canada is one of Canada’s largest employers and is ranked one of the country’s top 10 most influential brands. Walmart Canada’s extensive philanthropy program is focused on supporting Canadian families in need, and since 1994.

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Making Omnichannel Retailers Even Better

From apparel to toys to the latest gadgets, leading brands trust SCI’s experts to build and deliver an end-to-end omni-channel retail solution.

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End-to-end strategic kiosk strategy services

Demand for automated and low-contact transactions is on the rise. Learn how the SCI team can manage your kiosk or self-service project from strategy to implementation to maintenance.

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SCI Experts featured on the latest The Voice of Retail Podcast

The latest episode of Michael Leblanc’s popular podcast, The Voice of Retail, features an interview with our CEO, Chris Galindo, as well as the panel discussion from our recent SCI Executive Summit, both talking about the importance of preparing for the upcoming peak season.

Chris’s interview provides key insights regarding the logistics of ecommerce from a 3PL perspective and how to ramp up your supply chain for the peak season.

He also discusses some of the latest trends affecting front line distribution and offers advice for retailers to help successfully manage one of the busiest times of the year.

The SCI panel discussion invites thought leaders from across sectors to offer perspectives on the importance of getting ahead of peak retail sales season, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas & Boxing Day.

The panel, moderated by Michael LeBlanc, features Stephanie Barrington, Vice-President of Marketing for Well.ca, SCI’s own Jerry Lam, Director of Strategic Accounts and Product Development and Franco Schiavone, Senior Director of eCommerce and Customer Service with Designer Brands Canada.

The panelists offer insights into how their companies are adopting new strategies to manage the extreme fluctuations and demands of peak seasons while still delivering on customer expectations.

Listen to the full podcast here.

For more information on the SCI Executive Summit, Chris Galindo offers five key takeaways in this blog post.

 

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How E-commerce Platforms Can Make Your Supply Chain More Effective

Visibility throughout the entire supply chain is a process that every company aims to achieve. Effective integrations between supply chain systems and e-commerce platforms allows complete visibility to stock levels, tracking information, order notifications, and all other crucial data that exist in warehousing and fulfilment operations.  Knowing exactly where a product is within the warehouse will increase your speed to market and efficiency in inventory replenishment.  Integrating existing warehouse management system (WMS) and the e-commerce platform provides supply chain managers with a seamless flow of data between both systems, eliminating disruptions caused by inventory variations and logistical operations.

This visibility to supply chain and e-commerce data can also be passed through to mobile devices and other connected technologies.  By doing this, companies are provided even greater access to important business data to help understand any gaps and inefficiencies within the fulfillment processes. For example, once a product gets shipped, the shipper can update the tracking code which will become visible to the warehouse manager, the business owner and the consumer. This not only creates a better customer experience, it also ensures the supply chain team that the product has been delivered to the correct destination on time. 

How platforms like Shopify are changing the game for supply chain integrations

Over the past few years, a number of tools have been developed to streamline the entire ecommerce process from payments to order fulfillment.  As these tools add more features, it makes even more sense for larger businesses to integrate with these platforms.  Even website build platforms like Wix and Foursquare have developed their own form of e-commerce solution.  However, one platform seems to be staying ahead of the competition.

Once a small business solution, Shopify has now proven itself as a major enterprise e-commerce player, and large businesses have been quick to realize the benefits it has to offer, with features such as order processing & fulfilment tools, payment system integration, support for multiple Country sites (i.e. .com and .ca), as well as performance reporting and insights. The key tools that are changing the way that Shopify integrates with 3PL’s include, inventory management, inventory tracking, and purchase order tracking.

As ecommerce platforms give sellers more complete solutions for their ecommerce operations, 3PL services need to ensure they have the capabilities to integrate with each new software development.  Everything from tracking when an order comes in to sending a tracking code to the consumer should be seamless.  If everything is seamlessly integrated properly, 3PL companies can use analytics to track trends in peak fulfillment times, revenue of orders shipped by day and sales by channel to make informed supply chain decisions based on historical data.  Companies eliminate the possibility of human error, for instance, if an order is placed and gets sent automatically to the 3PL instead of an employee manually sending the order, there is no risk of duplication or incorrect information and your orders will get processed by your supply chain provider faster.  This creates a process which will reduce returns, exchanges, expedited shipping and replacements.

Advances in technology enhancing overall experience

Recent enhancements to ecommerce interconnectivity include integration with social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Buzzfeed, tracking conversions through enhanced analytics and monitoring all interactions on one platform. These features allow curated shopping experiences, enabling visitors to convert and complete their purchase directly on those apps and networks, reducing friction in the customer journey and seamlessly flowing orders into the system.  Virtually unlimited APIs and plug-ins allow for simplified connections to internal and external data sources, while built-in tools are available to enhance almost any aspect of the customer shopping experience, as well as back-end systems. These tools include: enhanced return label functionality, returns tracking and automatic tracking code updates.

As the flow of orders speeds up, supply chain and 3PL logistics providers are forced to find efficiencies in their processes to keep up with the increased demands.  With the right integration, processes including order picking, returns and shipment visibility can be optimized to keep up with customer demands and expectations.

Getting ecommerce Implementations right the first time

As the purpose of these advanced features is to improve the customer experience and streamline the e-commerce process, it’s expected that your supply chain partner will be on top of the most current trends. SCI’s approach to integrations includes leveraging our internal talent to build flexible applications that work with any e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, NetSuite, Oracle, and others.

SCI’s proven track record of success with e-commerce integrations have created a wide variety of communication protocols that are used throughout a business’ internal and external systems. All integrations developed and implemented by SCI are mapped to the individual requirements of each business and the systems they work with. Linking systems between customers, suppliers, and other business partners requires extensive expertise and a clear understanding of corporate information security standards. SCI always makes security and data protection an essential element of any integration implementation.

Staying one step ahead

Leading the way in e-commerce requires an emphasis on continuous improvement, which translates to not only being on the forefront of integration technologies, but actually having experience working with them.  SCI is constantly working with the most current technologies, functionalities and features to improve their overall business.  We keep a constant eye on the latest trends and ensure our employees are trained on the newest technologies.

Enterprise and larger e-commerce retailers need partners like SCI to ensure their system integrations are implemented correctly and securely, to maximize their effectiveness.

Contact SCI today to learn how a custom systems integration can benefit your business.

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Choosing a 3PL Isn’t Just About Cost Anymore

In order to stay competitive, businesses need to always be looking for opportunities to make better use of limited resources, including personnel, equipment, facilities, and capital. For this reason, many companies wisely turn to third-party logistics (3PL) partners in order to achieve greater levels of efficiency, better customer service, and lower costs.

However, it’s important to know that not all 3PL logistics providers are created equal. Supply chain companies have different areas of expertise, and while  certain companies may come in at a lower overall cost, the level of service and capabilities are often vastly different. A great logistics partner will be able to support a long term competitive advantage for the right price.

Here are some of the key factors to look at when considering different 3PL providers.

Resource Availability

A 3PL partner may have a lower cost due to the smaller pool of resources available to them. Fewer locations, older technology, smaller fleets, and other factors can all play a big role in your company’s ability to meet the demands of an aggressive market.

Look at the network of locations that your 3PL has in place and weigh them against your long-term expansion goals.  For example, if you’re planning on growing on a national level, you want to ensure that your 3PL partner can handle the demands in the areas you are focusing on. Keep in mind that the resources you need today aren’t always going to be the same resources you need in the future.

In addition, top-tier 3PL providers will have strategically-located facilities at the ports of entry to enable smooth import and export of goods across international borders. When shipping products to or from overseas, having the resources in place to handle the necessary processes can significantly reduce the risk of any delays associated with border crossing.

 

Knowledge & Experience

Another consideration is the level of expertise and industry knowledge that a 3PL can offer you in your specific industry. You’re going to want a team of experts that require very little vendor management with a wide range of hands-on expertise on how to make your supply chain work faster, leaner, and smarter. This knowledge can help keep you within your operating budget and lead to not only meeting your growth goals but exceeding them.

Experienced 3PL companies will have all the appropriate licensing in place and can help make sure that any regulatory concerns related to your products are handled correctly. Their experience also provides assurance that your products will be handled with the proper care, and that they are stored and transported in the correct conditions to reduce the risk of damage or loss along the various stages of the supply chain. When considering different 3PL providers, it can be insightful to take a look at the other businesses they work with, as well as the growth history and evolution of their company. If they are true 3PL experts, they’ll have the heritage to back it up and the client list to prove it. When you’re investing extensive capital in to your supply chain, you want the assurance that you’re making the right choices.

Support When You Need It

While we all expect operations to run smoothly in the supply chain, the reality is that there will always be occasional issues, some minor, some major. The difference between a minor issue and a disaster will depend on the support systems you have in place. This can be one of the biggest differences between 3PL providers, and it can have big repercussions for your business.

Take the time to thoroughly evaluate the 3PL provider’s support systems and customer service capabilities. You will quickly be able to identify which providers are delivering greater value through added service and support.  Getting your operations back on track quickly and efficiently is critical to delivering on customer expectations, and having the right support systems makes all the difference.

Leverage Technology

Of course, it’s not just the physical resources and personnel that make a good 3PLpartner. You also need one who can deliver the best insights that are derived from accurate data in order to guide you to better strategies for growth and success. Technology plays a big role here, and the implementation of systems to gather and transmit critical data can have a huge impact on your ability to adjust to changing market conditions and make better decisions based on your business’s analytics.

Automation of processes is another way that 3PL providers can deliver greater value and help your company boost efficiencies throughout your supply chain. Whether it is in inventory management, order fulfilment, demand planning or materials handling, automation can lead to cost reduction and improve quality control. Look for a 3PL partner that has an expertise in the right automation for your supply chain where it where it gives you the most long term gains.

Take a Step Back and See the Bigger Picture

As you can see, there are many different ways that third-party logistics providers are able to differentiate themselves. This is why it’s important to take a step back when choosing a partner and see a holistic view of what they are able to offer that goes far beyond the simple financial cost. By having a more complete picture of the benefits they can bring to the partnership, you’ll be in a better position to make the right choice for the future of your business.

If you’re looking for a leading 3PL with national coverage, leading edge technology, customized solutions and dedicated customer care, then contact the SCI team today.

Our logistics experts will answer all of your questions and work with you to achieve your goals of a smarter, more efficient supply chain that is ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

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