channel free logistics

Channel Free Logistics Innovates Supply Chain’s Traditional Operations

By Published On: March 21, 2024


According to Bill Thayer, “Logistics is the part of retail where you can truly be very collaborative.” Thayer’s company Fillogic has developed a process and practice he dubs “channel free logistics.” We talked to Thayer on our most recent podcast about how he developed this concept as well as how he came to learn about the importance of logistics practices in the effectiveness of retail operations. One thing we came away from was his insistence on the criticality of relationships and collaborations in creating more effective logistics modes. We also discuss how Fillogic has been able to engage underutilized retail space in shopping malls to deploy the practice of “channel free logistics” to great effect.

Using Logistics Technology and Relationships to Improve Efficiencies

Thayer stumbled into logistics while on the merchant side of things with an off-price retailer, Loehmann’s. His boss came to him and asked him why his sportswear merchandise was being moved more than any other line. Bill said it’s because he was following up with the logistics people. This is when he learned about the logistics lifeline and the importance of creating cross functional relationships.

Thayer went on to oversee logistics for Loehmann’s, helping to implement major efficiencies that contributed to positive growth. As Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer, Thayer learned first hand the immediate and profitable synergies between logistics and technology. He took those 2 decades of supply chain knowledge and applied them to his venture, Fillogic. 

In today’s rapidly changing supply chain landscapes, vendors and service providers need to understand that everyone has a problem to which there’s always a solution or resolution. At a time when lots of issues could simultaneously present problems, Thayer believes in finding the issue that requires the most attention. Finding a solution or resolution to the most pressing issue will have trickle down effects to the smaller problems. Identifying the right solutions that can help solve problems has been Thayer’s key to success.

It sounds simple, but it relies on relationships and being hyper focused on a solutions based approach to people in your supply chain world. In doing so, you can meet retailers and brands where they are with an entire tackle box worth of solutions.

People, Process & Technology to Build Channel Free Logistics

Different demographics have different buying habits. Baby Boomers like to do their shopping in person. Younger demographics prefer ecommerce options. These buying habits shape the people, processes, and technologies of our supply chains and logistics operations.

Channel Free logistics removes all the silos and disparate channels from these logistical retail cycles.

Thayer credits some of Fillogic’s success to his supply chain talent strategy. The people part of things has greatly aided his supply chain innovations. From his initial spark to develop relationships with Loehmann’s logistics teams to now ensuring that everyone he brings is Open to Learn or OTL. 

Thayer focuses on building a bench of managers and developing from within. His mantra is that we can teach you how we do things if you’re open to learning. People from outside the industry can be taught supply chain and logistics so long as they’re willing to work within a team to understand worth and value. No heroes. Hero culture is death to a business.

With the right people to implement the technology, process innovation and disruption are possible. And that’s exactly what Thayer did.

Who Says Malls are Dead?!

All the data is in and it reveals that people want their stuff all in one place. A unified consumer experience can boost vendor and retailer activity by huge percentages. The ability to research, browse, purchase and return goods all in one place creates a seamless and streamlined consumer experience. There don’t have to be silos of buying here, returning there, and having separate people, places, and packaging for all of it. 

Thayer and Fillogic have decided that the underutilized platforms and infrastructure of malls provide the perfect opportunity for such a unified experience. He’s able to match inventory and processes to customers’ needs using malls as aggregated fulfillment hubs. Mall had retail, food, experiential outlets and were only missing logistics, which can be provided by Filllogic.

Building the Future of Logistics – with Bill Thayer, CEO of Fillogic

Intersection of People and Supply Chain

According to Thayer, logistics is a people business. Yes, we need technology but we’re getting a little “robot crazy” in America right now. Technology helps us with efficiency but it can impede person to person interactions. That’s why he places a premium on his talent strategies. Again, the core tenants of people, process, and technology haven’t changed all that much over the years. Face to face communication with vendors and services providers and managing those relationships is as important as balancing internal priorities. The wrong person corresponding in either direction can wreck a deal or a relationship and create downstream effects.

Logistics pros are rules based and process focused because they’re always moving people or products through a system. This has to be done in discrete ways and focused on problem solving. Finding the right logistics person to lead your teams can be difficult. It’s no longer just about hiring for experience because that experience can become dated very quickly. Finding the people who are open to learn and can be leaders is the most important for your growth mindset as an organization. 

Value of Mentors on the Road to Success

Thayer will be the first to tell you that success doesn’t come easy and it’s a collaborative effort. Relationships have been thematic throughout this piece and Thayer’s mentors continue this theme. Bill is quick to credit some of his earliest colleagues at Loehmann’s and even some of his vendors with operational guidance that have helped him succeed. He has people in leadership at Fillogic that he’s had working relationships with for more than 20 years. 

Ultimately, Thayer doesn’t see himself any differently than the people he employs. “I’m my wife’s husband and my kids’ dad. Other than that, I’m just Bill.” This collaborative spirit has helped endear Bill to clients, colleagues, and other supply chain leaders over a successful 30 year supply chain career. “Your people are your most important strength,” says Thayer. And it seems his career exemplifies this remark.


The supply chain disciplines have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to economies of scale and leading innovation and change. Yes, technology has led a lot of the change in the last 5 years, but Bill Thayer and Fillogic demonstrate that relationships, people, and underutilized infrastructure can all lead dynamic change. Zooming out to turn weaknesses into opportunities while leading with people, process, and technology has helped Bill Thayer transform a piece of logistics and supply chain management to help create a more unified, efficient, and sustainable consumer experience.

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