Dock operator preparing a load


Using Strong Inventory Management to Delight Consumers

Retailers must focus on good inventory management throughout the supply chain to impress consumers and boost profit margins.

The supply chain disruption brought on by COVID-19 wreaked havoc throughout the eCommerce world as retailers struggled to fulfill orders, deliver products on time, and meet customers’ growing expectations. Now, some of those tensions are beginning to ease. To discuss how retailers can leverage order management to fulfill orders and once again give customers what they want—a delightful experience—Digital Commerce 360 spoke with Shawn Kolish, vice president of operations for retail market lines at GEODIS Americas.

Key takeaways


  • Retailers can be optimistic about the supply chain again, as many of the constraints over the last few years have eased
  • Consumers have higher expectations than ever, and it's critical to meet them where they are
  • Optimizing product availability is central to delighting consumers, and that relies on best-in-class inventory management
  • Retailers are adapting well, expanding their omnichannel offerings and investing in the right automation and technology

In this article, we're sharing a post originally published on Digital Commerce 360 in 2022, lightly edited and republished here with their kind permission.

How would you describe the state of the supply chain today?

Overall, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic, as some of the supply chain challenges that were so common over the past two years have begun to be mitigated. First, the labor market has somewhat loosened, leading to increased capacity in manufacturing and production both domestically and internationally.


Second, transportation constraints have eased up. That’s partly due to some of the relief in labor and also because more people are going back to stores to shop. In general, there’s more capacity in the supply chain today.


How would you describe today’s consumer expectations around fulfillment?

It’s all about the customer experience—specifically, delighting the customer. Customers today have very high expectations. It’s the four Rs: They want to find the right product at the right price, deliver it to them at the right speed, and have access to the right information about their order and delivery. Whether distribution is insourced or outsourced, retailers expect fulfillment to represent their brand and deliver an experience that delights the customer.


What are the biggest fulfillment hurdles that retailers should focus on overcoming?

Without a doubt, the biggest hurdle is inventory management. This is arguably the most critical element to a retailer’s omnichannel success. Maintaining a conscientious, deliberate approach to inventory is a crucial factor in retail profitability. Retailers should ask themselves, “How can we put orders in the customers’ hands at the best time?”


Having the right inventory in the right spot at the right time enables omnichannel fulfillment. Revenue is the lifeblood of any retailer. To generate revenue, you must have the right inventory.

women on their laptop in a warehouse

How well are retailers adjusting to these challenges?

Retailers have done well. They’ve started to manage their channels and have understood the need for flexibility in that omnichannel space. They’re studying, evaluating and re-evaluating what omnichannel brings to them as retailers. Like all verticals, retailers have not been immune to inflationary pressures. They’ve managed all the recent challenges around labor, material costs and transportation costs to maintain profitability. And many retailers are leveraging the advantages of "Buy Online, Pickup In Store" (BOPIS). It’s quick fulfillment, it lowers transportation costs, and it drives in-store traffic (where retailers want customers).


What strategies or technologies are helping retailers the most?

Taking a conscientious approach to inventory management is critical. Undoubtedly, retailers are also looking at automation and mechanization to mitigate uncertainty in their costs. As costs increase across the board, it becomes much easier to justify these larger and more complex projects within fulfillment. Autonomous mobile robots and other AI robotics are some of the solutions that retailers invest in because the return on investment makes a lot of sense.


GEODIS, for example, works closely with retailers to address and overcome their fulfillment challenges. Our solutions cover all the touch points within the supply chain, end to end. We understand the issues, nuances, and needs that are unique to retailers. We collaborate with retailers to create a customized solution to delight the customer.

How GEODIS can help

GEODIS is one of the biggest retail logistics providers in the U.S. and around the world. Here's what you can expect when you work with us:


  • Strategically located warehouses and distribution centers throughout the U.S.
  • Reach 99.5% of the continental U.S. in two days or fewer
  • Strong relationships with major big-box retailers
  • A wide and deep national, regional, and local carrier network
  • Best-in-class inventory management services
  • Expert supply, demand, and capacity planning
  • Comprehensive value-added services
  • Integration with the full range of transportation, warehousing, and freight forwarding GEODIS services
  • Real-time visibility throughout the supply chain


Delight retailers by choosing GEODIS as your 3PL partner. Get in touch with us to discover how we can optimize your retail operations to boost visibility, trust, and profits.