Logical logistics

It seems everyone’s got their urban strategy these days. Or, as I like to call it, “the “mini-me” approach.


Target’s entry is a scaled down 90,000-square-foot version of itself slated for Seattle in 2012 with subsequent expansion into 10 other markets like San Francisco. Not exactly a c-store but half the size of conventional Targets. Walmart, which already has its Neighborhood Store and Marketside formats-neither of which set the retail world on fire-is working on a 20.000-square-foot urban store. Other combatants will surely follow.


The one discussion missing from all these stories is logistics. Just because a store is small doesn’t make it easy to supply. Do you use existing DCs or set up a separate inner city supply chain network? Do you twist suppliers’ arms for more DSD merchandise? And how do you adjust ordering and replenishment? What happens when the neighbors start complaining about those 3 a.m. deliveries or trucks clogging the streets during the day? What about when the independent trucker you hired got toasted the night before and the delivery never showed up? Or it shows up after your crew goes home.


It ain’t sexy but in the end there’s nothing more important than getting the right goods to the store on time. There are too many unique challenges to inner city supply logistics that I’d like to see discussed.

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