How prepared are you for supply chain disruptions? We’re past the pandemic, but is it safe to say we’re past supply chain disruptions in 2023? 

We recently joined our industry peers at Retail Leaders Forum in Melbourne for one of the largest events. Not only was it a great event full of networking, thought leadership and learning, but it was an opportunity to check in and learn from retailers across the industry.

In case you missed it, we hosted a keynote, ‘Rethinking store networks to improve operational efficiency and agility across the retail supply chain,’ alongside Brandon Soo, eCommerce Manager at Total Tools.

In this blog, we’ll summarise the key takeaways from the session and show you how to bake resilience into your last-mile delivery operations.


Use more than one carrier to manage delays and disruptions when things don’t go to plan

The post-covid era has re exposed the challenges of aging infrastructure of logistics, and supply chains. As online retail continues to grow and establish itself as a standard operating procedure for the everyday consumer, retailers must improve their last-mile operational processes to bridge the gap between the old ways of working and new expectations. Getting goods into the hands of your customers in the face of natural disasters, stock shortages, and extended delays can be frustrating, and it’s often a complicated process.

We are all familiar with the saying, ‘don’t put all your eggs into one basket’ well, it rings true regarding supply chain delays and disruptions. To avoid shipping and delivery delays, it’s important to understand the value of a shipping strategy in your broader commercial and operational plans. 

Brandon Soo from Total Tools recalls how competitors who relied on a single carrier during COVID were experiencing trouble with customer delivery.

“We noticed that by adding additional carriers to the mix, we unlocked more flexibility and speed of delivery to customers. It also helped to reduce our shipping costs because we reduced the distance travelled on each order,” said Brandon.

When you integrate with more than one carrier, you’re able to leverage different carrier strengths to meet your needs and mitigate risk during times of supply chain delay and disruption.


Leverage your store network to reduce shipping delays 

How do data and technology enhance the efficiency of a retailer’s supply chain operations? This became a hot topic of discussion for Brandon and the audience. 

With over 90 store locations across Australia, Total Tools has multiple locations, stock and inventory to keep track of, creating complex shipping operations.

It became even more complex to navigate when you throw a global pandemic or natural disaster into the mix.

Back in 2022, the Total Tools centralised warehouse was flooded and the team could not fulfil orders out of their primary location.

So, access to stock across their 90 store locations network became a top priority to ensure online orders could be fulfilled and delivered on time. 

Brandon shared how an ‘endless aisle’ strategy or ship-from-store fulfilment model helped to access stock and inventory that was closest to the customer. 

When a customer placed an order online, Total Tools used Shippit’s technology to locate the nearest store with the product in stock, and ship it directly to the customer’s address. 

This method of fulfilment can help retailers to reduce shipping times, lower shipping costs, and utilise inventory that might otherwise collect dust across their vast store network. 

“Shippit was the key partner to distribute the stock across our customer base, including dispersed customers across the region. Their shipping technology enabled us to be proactive and reallocate orders during disruptions, so we could fulfil orders closest to the customer and pivot our shipping strategy when our main distribution centres went down,” says Brandon Soo.

With more access to your shipping, delivery and order fulfilment data, retailers can improve pick and pack times and identify at-risk orders that cannot be fulfilled by the allocated stores to divert orders while still ensuring timely delivery.


Understand your customer needs to increase the customer’s lifetime value

Events like these are a great way to highlight challenges across the industry and come together to discuss how to solve them. 

In this session, we discussed the future outlook of developing resilience across your supply chain and we found that Total Tools, and many other retailers in the audience are focussing on the delivery experience to make it more efficient, reliable, and customer-centric to drive repeat purchases and boost customer loyalty. 

At Total Tools, understanding customer needs helps to determine new delivery options to implement and prioritise. 

Do customers have a need for fast, free, sustainable delivery methods? All of these options can be a deciding factor as to whether a customer makes a return purchase at your store, so it’s important to consider how you will cater to their needs.

Currently, Total Tools has identified its customer’s appetite for differentiated delivery options, and they’re currently exploring adding new delivery options like one-demand, click and collect and more to boost customer satisfaction.


Overall, there’s a renewed emphasis on last-mile delivery, and retailers are re-evaluating their technology and operational processes to ensure it is supply chain resilient. Check out how Shippit can help you improve your shipping and delivery operations with tools like multi-carrier shipping strategies, automated processes, delivery tracking and more to provide a seamless and reliable delivery experience that meets (and exceeds) customer expectations when faced with delays or disruption.