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Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog by Our friend Mark Lerner with Bringg where he discusses Omnichannel and Supply Chain with Chuck Intrieri.

There are very few people out there whose experience in a particular industry spans both sides of a shifted paradigm. It’s people like this that can give us deep insights into how our industry has changed and where it might be going from here. We can also learn from them what stumbling blocks to look out for while navigating this changing topography that we find ourselves in.

Chuck Intrieri is one of those people.

Chuck’s long career has given him the unique opportunity to watch logistics and supply chain management change in unprecedented ways. That is why it was such an honor and privilege to interview him – to get his view on how logistics and supply chain management has changed, particularly in light of eCommerce’s emergence.

Below is a transcript of one section of our interview in which Chuck gives his take on how things have changed as a result of eCommerce.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

Mark Lerner

It seems like you’ve had the unique opportunity to watch how things have changed over the time especially with the digital age and how that’s impacting everything.

I’m sure you have a very unique view of how things are changing, and I would love to hear your insights – especially with e-commerce how e-commerce has impacted the supply chain. How have you seen that happen over time and where do you think it’s going. I’d love to hear your experience and in watching that evolution and where you see it going in the future.

Chuck Intrieri

Well it all started with “purchasing,” that was the big name when I was with Schwinn; it was called a “purchasing partner.” Then it became the materials department, then supply chain came about after I left, believe it or not. So it was just purchasing materials management. Then I went to Troy Built in Upstate New York, and I was the Director of Materials Management, which means I had everything from the manufacturer/supplier all the way through manufacturing.

However, my duty did not go all the way out to the consumer.

Today, the supply chain goes from the manufacturer/supplier all the way through the supply chain from manufacturing, warehousing, 3PL, eCommerce – whatever it takes to get to value to the customer.

Supply chain, in my opinion, is really not technical. Don’t forget the fact that people are important, people that are in the supplier and manufacturer, the company, the distribution, the 3PL, the truck driver – everything has to do with people. Yeah, you need IT systems, you nee collaboration, you need all those other things, but I don’t care whether robotics comes out or Internet of Everything… you’re still going to need people.

That’s one thing I never want to forget.

Going on from there, eCommerce came around to help people with cost efficiency by streamlining document handling and lowering operating costs.

There’s also something called Omnichannel – I’d like to get that out of the way, the difference between eCommerce, which is a commercial transaction conducted electronically on the internet versus Omnichannel, which is also internet, but “omni” means many or all – so you talk about omni, it’s retail stores, online stores, mobile stores, mobile app stores, telephone and any other method of the transaction done by internet. So that’s Omnichannel – that’s all channels, versus eCommerce, which has to do with document handling.

There’s also another issue involved with document handling called ElectronicData Interface (EDI).

So those are three different things: Omnichannel, eCommerce, and supply chain EDI.

With eCommerce, cost efficiency is the most important aspect. When you get into the distribution system flexibility, you have increased complex movement of products; customers can manage increased complex movement products and information through the supply chain using eCommerce. Customer orientation is very important, I call it the VOC – Voice of the Customer. You listen to what your customer has to say with customer orientation and eCommerce.

Voice of the Customer and Voice of the Employee, where you have a vital link in the support logistics and transportation services to both internal external customers – eCommerce will help companies deliver better services, and I’m a big believer in eCommerce helping companies do a better job.