As online sales rise, The Home Depot is focusing on predictability, options

By: | Issue #642 | at 08:16 AM | Channel(s): International Trade  

As online sales rise, The Home Depot is focusing on predictability, options

Sure, speed matters, but delivery predictability and its communication may well be even more important for the world’s largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, which consistently ranks among the top five U.S. importers.

That view was among a broad spectrum of thoughts shared by supply chain leaders at Jump Start 2017, presented Jan. 23-25 in Atlanta by SMC3.

The conference also featured commentary from authorities in rail, trucking, port and third-party logistics sectors, as well as economists, transportation management system providers and even a roboticist.

Erin Donnelly, director of delivery support for The Home Depot, said her company, based in suburban Atlanta, has been realizing 20 percent year-over-year gains in online sales, but, with e-commerce still accounting for just between 7 and 8 percent of the firm’s total sales, she said, “We still see a lot of room to grow.”

In addition to aligning distribution centers to be closer to consumer populations, The Home Depot is relying upon inventory in its more than 2,200 stores across North America for fulfillment of many online orders, Donnelly said.

Speed remains an important factor, she said, noting that the company’s 2016 goal was to get goods to 90 percent of buyers within two days, while the current objective is to complete as many deliveries as possible within one day.

However, Donnelly said, predictability is just as crucial, if not more so.

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American Journal of Transportation

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For more than a quarter of a century, Paul Scott Abbott has been writing and shooting images for the American Journal of Transportation, applying four decades of experience as an award-winning journalist.

A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, with a master’s magna cum laude from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Abbott has served as president of chapters of the Propeller Club of the United States, Florida Public Relations Association and Society of Professional Journalists.

Abbott honed his skills on several daily newspapers, including The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Richmond (Va.) News Leader, Albuquerque Journal and (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, and was editor and publisher of The County Line, a weekly newspaper he founded in suburban Richmond, Va.

A native Chicagoan, he is a member of American Mensa and an ever-optimistic fan of the Chicago Cubs.