Gun Sellers Join Forces To Curb Suicide-By-Firearm, Rampant In Rural Areas | Kaiser Health News
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Fulfillment by retailer-operated regional distribution centers is also very popular.
Fulfillment from non-retailer distribution centers, however, is not as widely used. Less than half of the retailers surveyed rely on vendors for fulfillment, and only a quarter use logistics service providers' facilities for urban fulfillment. Store-based fulfillment Viewed by many supply chain executives as logical extensions of the distribution network, city stores provide the footprint needed for a quick launch of urban fulfillment. Brick-and-mortar stores provide an existing infrastructure that is close to urban customer delivery points, and store inventory can serve demand that originates from any channel.
Additionally, the responses to the SRSC survey show that store fulfillment best enables same-day delivery. This is because store-based fulfillment largely avoids the longer distances and potential delays associated with delivery from regional distribution facilities.
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These advantages foreshadow a growing role for stores in urban fulfillment, according to multiple SRSC interviewees. Along these lines, a discount retailer supply chain executive revealed: Store-based fulfillment is not without challenges, however.
A key concern is inventory management, as retailers are now relying on a single inventory pool to support both store and e-commerce demand. It takes different thinking about demand forecasting than the way we've viewed it in the past. On top of their store-level forecasting for walk-in customer demand, retailers must accurately predict e-commerce demand by each urbanfulfillment methods and then by fulfillment location within each method.
Furthermore, urban stores have limited space for safety stock, and as a result, stockout risks accelerate when a demand spike occurs. To address this issue, many companies have increased their store-order and delivery frequency to enhance product availability and order fill rates. For example, some retailers are switching from a weekly single-store truckload delivery to multi-stop routes also known as "milk runs" that replenish stores two times or more per week. This also allows the retailers to replenish store inventory with individual units or prepacks rather than full cases to better match demand and manage space constraints.
However, greater replenishment frequency can cause its own challenges, including creating traffic congestion, appropriating limited parking, and disrupting store shoppers. To minimize these issues, retailers are synchronizing store associate schedules with truck receiving schedules to speed the receiving process and the release of delivery vehicles.
Physical infrastructure limitations can also affect retailers' ability to offer a wide array of stock-keeping units SKUs and efficiently process orders in urban stores. To address the SKU challenge, some retailers limit the online product assortment available for immediate urban fulfillment to high-velocity SKUs.
Slower moving items must be fulfilled from regional DCs. Others use a hub-and-spoke system, where online orders are routed to hub stores with adequate SKUs and labor to complete orders within a short time window. The increase in the number of delivery trucks required for more frequent store replenishment can create traffic congestion and take away limited parking from in-store customers.
Using in-store inventory for e-commerce orders may reduce on-shelf product availability. Additionally, the increase in store replenishment and picking for multiple e-commerce orders during normal business hours creates aisle congestion.
It also diverts store employees from their normal customer service roles. One solution is to receive truck deliveries and fill customer orders during off-peak or nonoperating hours, but that tactic can impede the rapid delivery demands of urban shoppers. Additionally, to fulfill orders with minimal customer disruption in the confined space of small format urban stores, retailers must be creative. The picking processes, packing stations, and staging areas used in distribution centers and large suburban stores cannot simply be replicated.
Instead, streamlined methods using scaled-down equipment and fewer shipping box sizes must be deployed. In addition to the general advantages and disadvantages associated with all store fulfillment models, it's helpful for retailers to understand the unique advantages and disadvantages associated with the two different store fulfillment models—click-and-collect and fill-and-deliver.
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The click-and-collect option is particularly efficient, eliminating costly last-mile operations and requiring no more than curbside loading. Likewise, retailers avoid the risks of in-transit damage, mis-deliveries, and porch piracy. But as click-and-collect orders increase, retailers risk clogging up their customer service desks or checkout locations handling online orders and negatively affecting the in-store customer experience.
The fill-and-deliver option provides greater customer convenience. However, for the fill-and-deliver option to work, retailers must pay attention to service reliability. Delivery personnel availability and quality can be inconsistent, especially when a retailer uses on-demand fulfillment services such as Shipt or Instacart. As the volume of orders in urban markets increases, retailers may face another challenge: One SRSC executive raised the question, "What happens when online order volume at urban locations starts becoming more than 10 to 15 percent of the store volume?
A vice president noted: Small details such as improper selection of carton size or delivery provider can result in dimensional weight delivery costs.
Retailers must properly cross-train their customer service associates to execute the fulfillment functions of order picking, packing, and shipping.
Distribution center fulfillment While stores offer a compelling urban fulfillment value proposition, distribution centers also play a vital role.
In addition to rapidly replenishing the stores, suitably located distribution centers can handle e-commerce order fulfillment and delivery for urban markets. Retailers can use their own distribution centers or, depending on the order cube, weight, and quantity, their product vendor's or logistics service provider's DCs. Compared to stores, distribution centers can better support the fulfillment of large-scale orders.
This is especially true for home improvement, electronics, and furniture retailers that sell products of widely varying weights, dimensions, and prices. DCs also have access to trained transportation personnel and specialized product handling equipment—resources needed to achieve safe and effective delivery of large appliances, bulk building materials, and furniture.
Distribution centers also allow for inventory pooling, which provides greater product availability and cost control. Rather than dispersing product to multiple locations for fulfillment, it is held in a more central location until demand is known, and then fulfillment and direct delivery takes place.
The need to prepare and transfer product to stores is eliminated, which reduces the landed cost of goods, according to advocates of this method. Distribution center fulfillment is by no means perfect. Many distribution centers are not configured for picking and packing eaches for individual orders, which negatively impacts fulfillment cost and productivity.
Longer distances to delivery points impede rapid transit times. For this reason, only 27 percent of the SRSC participants who rely on their own distribution centers for urban fulfillment offer same-day delivery to customers, while none of them receives same-day service from logistics service providers or product vendor facilities. Additionally, urban fulfillment may not be the top priority for distribution centers, decreasing, as a result, the service quality provided to urban shoppers.
In addition to their own distribution centers, some retailers also use an external partner's distribution facilities to handle urban omnichannel fulfillment.
Urban fulfillment: The battle for city shoppers – Logistics – CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
This option does decrease the amount of investment that retailers will have to make in their own distribution operations as well as the associated variable costs. For example, it may make sense to use a logistics service provider for specialized "white-glove" delivery services with product installation and packaging disposal. However, relying on logistics service providers for customer fulfillment causes retailers to lose significant control of the process.
This is an ongoing concern.
One executive lamented, "Your order-delivery partner has your reputation in its hands. So, if we have problems with that company, customers aren't pointing at that delivery driver, they're pointing at us. A lack of vigilance creates service failure risks. Emerging solutions In addition to these more established solutions, retailers are on a continuous quest for innovative omnichannel fulfillment solutions.
Three emerging options are "dark store" fulfillment, multi-tenant facilities, and pop-up fulfillment centers.
Each solution holds promise for retailers. More popular in Europe than in the United States, dark stores are retail outlets with no walk-in customer traffic. They execute fulfillment of e-commerce orders and sometimes provide emergency inventory replenishment for local stores.
The dark store layout is similar to a traditional grocery store or drugstore, complete with fresh, frozen, and dry food; personal care products; and household goods. However, you will not see price tags, endcap displays, or checkout lanes.
Order pickers use multi-bin carts and a tablet computer to navigate the dark store while efficiently filling customer orders. Completed orders are packed for final delivery to customers' homes, lockers, or offices. On the plus side, dark stores are highly conducive to rapid order fulfillment as there are no regular customers creating aisle congestion. There is also less likelihood of inventory stockouts as there is no competition for product from walk-in customers.
And, existing facilities can be repurposed rather than completely shuttered. The main challenges of dark stores include the real estate investment and ongoing operating costs. Retailers need consistent order volume to ensure that the facility can be profitable.
These fulfillment centers allow retailers to access capacity in urban markets that have limited industrial vacancy rates.
These shared e-commerce facilities, run by specialized logistics service providers, offer space flexibility, market proximity, and variable cost of operations for retailers. More analysis is needed, but many said the study provides more evidence that preventing rural suicides means tackling the problem of suicide-by-firearm.
Gun ownership is more common in rural parts of the country, which may explain why researchers detected the striking rural-vs.
But that speaks to another challenge. Limiting firearm-related suicide means limiting access to firearms — which can generate a lot of pushback.
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Proposals for any government action related to firearms are politically loaded, he added. That difficulty makes room for initiatives like the one in New Hampshire, which has inspired similar efforts in Colorado and Maryland. Gun shops, after all, have particular sway in these areas: A report from the Violence Prevention Center noted that firearm retailers are most common per capita in highly rural states, such as Wyoming, the Dakotas and Iowa.
Beyond just training staff to be watchful, many gun shops keep educational materials in their stores. Those sound like small steps — and detractors argue that if guns became more difficult to obtain, people who want to commit suicide would use other means. But research shows that making it harder for a suicidal person to lay hands on a weapon — even by telling the customer to go home and come back later, or by refusing the transaction — can make all the difference. And, research shows, if an attempt is foiled, that person is ultimately less likely to die by self-harm.IR Patrol vs LWTS Thermal Scopes Comparison: Urban and Rural