The changing nature of the supply chain doesn’t just mean headaches for the supply director. The role of store staff is shifting as well.

With stores now acting, in many cases, as mini distribution centres, the skills needed for store staff are changing.

Click and collect services and home delivery orders that are fulfilled from stores, are just two of the developments that have changed the role stores play.

Craig Sears-Black, UK managing director at supply chain solutions provider Manhattan Associates says: “For multichannel retailers, the function of the bricks-and-mortar store has become that of a mini distribution centre. The rise in alternative fulfilment options like click-and-collect and same day or next day delivery means that the store now has to work harder than ever before.”

This means that store profitability will increasingly be directly related to the store staff’s skills and knowledge.

As more orders are fulfilled by stores, staff need to be able to pick and pack the order before either organising dispatch or making it available for customer collection.

Sears-Black says: “The role of the store assistant is going to become an even bigger competitive differentiator.” Retailers need to be mindful of this as their multichannel supply chain develops.