Omnichannel Fulfillment: Transforming Supply Chain ManagementOmnichannel fulfillment relies on technology for speed & visibility
Omnichannel retail is an integrated approach that makes sure that consumers have a consistent, unified experience across both online and offline channels. To consumers, the customer experience is paramount. Whether the consumer shops online, in a brick and mortar store location, on a phone or via other means, the experience should be seamless. Comprised of individual customer touchpoints via numerous channels that are interconnected, the omnichannel customer experience is one that enables consumers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue their shopping experience on another channel.
Ideally, omnichannel retailers have a physical and digital presence that allows
What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
Today consumers can order from anywhere, anytime using any type of device including at stores, online,
The complete process from the time that the consumer orders until the time that the order is delivered to the end-user is the process of omnichannel fulfillment. The process of omnichannel order fulfillment includes how the order reaches the end user and includes the warehousing, packaging and delivery process. In omnichannel fulfillment, the entire process is synchronized so that the data channels are made seamless.
The primary elements of the omnichannel order fulfillment process are:
- The handling and storage of inventory within the warehouse environment
- Order processing and order management
- Packaging and shipping of goods to fulfill orders
- Delivery to the destination (retail store, parcel locker, consumer home, etc.)
- Return or exchange of goods
Often throughout most of the process following an order, there is communication with customer service representatives or via automated updates or messages regarding order processing, backorders
The Rise of Omnichannel Order Fulfillment
Over the past year or so, many retailers have been experimenting with the mix of brick and mortar retail and e-commerce online shopping. Online retailers such as Amazon, Bonobos, Fabletics, Aesop and
Omnichannel fulfillment operates with high volumes of individual orders. This can make inventory management more complicated. Critical for consumers is the ability to have
The omnichannel order fulfillment model is designed to help ensure customer satisfaction and to provide the means for a smooth ordering and payment collection process, minimizing process time and engagement with customer service representatives.
To meet consumer expectations, a variety of delivery and fulfillment methods need to be available.
Here are some of the most common omnichannel fulfillment and delivery strategies:
- Click and Collect (order online then pick up in store)
- Buy online, have order drop shipped to customer
- Purchase in store for home delivery
- Ship to home from store
- Ship from store for home delivery
- Purchase online, return to store
- Buy online for same day/on demand delivery
Technology is the Key to Omnichannel Fulfillment
Home Delivery: A Key Element of Omnichannel Order Fulfillment
Beyond the use of transportation management software, to compete with companies like Amazon requires additional technology such as routing software that is integrated to an e-commerce platform, shipping management solutions that enable transportation rate shopping and a robust warehouse management system (WMS).
Warehouse Management Software for Omnichannel Order Fulfillment
Did you know that the shift to omnichannel retail which started with the development and popularity of e-commerce is the most significant supply chain management trend of the last decade? This has fueled interest and development in information technologies to increase visibility across the supply chain as well as to improve the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment and minimize supply chain costs.
Omnichannel order fulfillment is growing at a healthy pace and is expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2020.
Select Warehouse Management Software to Meet Omnichannel Fulfillment Challenges
Having a warehouse management system that enables visibility, connectivity
Another must for WMS used in omnichannel fulfillment operations is mobility, the ability to work with mobile computers, RF, RFID and mobile printers. Mobility=speed in today’s warehouse. This eliminates warehouse workers being tied to a desk or warehouse location and enables team members and managers to work together on the warehouse floor as well as in and out of the facility. Having the ability to handle real-time data capture and use data in a variety of reports and dashboards is essential
Deploying a WMS that is mobile-friendly helps to expedite receiving, sortation of goods and can noticeably improve inventory management accuracy. Here are a few examples:
- Using barcode label printer at the receiving dock can be a time saver. If goods arrive with damaged or unreadable barcodes, a warehouse worker can easily print and position a new label on the inventory.
- Utilizing mobile computers at the receiving dock enables
real timedata capture of barcodes, RFID tags and RMA labels on incoming cartons. As data is transmitted seamlessly to the warehouse management software, real timeupdates are enabled and data entry and errors are reduced.
- Relying on a vehicle-mounted mobile computer provides the operator with immediate, accurate information that is fast and easy to access. This eliminates unnecessary transit time, trips and calls, disrupting other workers.
- Working with a mobile computer, warehouse workers scan the barcode on the carton
thenthe shelf barcode to ensure that they match. The scan transmits data to the backend system so that precise information on the location is readily accessible, making picking faster.
Managing Product Velocity, Seasonal Inventory Demand and Changing Product Demand
Whether it is seasonal changes, holidays, fast fashion trending goods or a spike in orders, the warehouse management software for any omnichannel fulfillment warehouse must be flexible enough to handle the peaks and valleys of orders. An advanced WMS should be able to handle inventory slotting, taking into consideration slot and product characteristics,
The WMS or order management system needs to have
Omnichannel retail is one of the most transformative changes in the supply chain industry in the past decade. The complex nature and fast pace of operations and high volume order processing
About the Author:Laura Olson