Thursday, 31 January 2019 17:03

Why Intelligent Fulfilment is the Future of Customer Experience

Consumers have been enjoying the benefits of online shopping for years. The flexibility, availability of customer reviews, personalised offerings and product suggestions based on past purchase behaviours are only a few of the perks thatmake online shopping more appealing than brick-and-mortar retail stores.

While the rise of e-commerce across the retail and consumer goods industry is good news for customers, it’s sending ripples through the supply chain. With orders rapidly increasing, the demand for faster merchandise delivery is redefining traditional distribution, with 77 per cent of warehouses struggling to meet same-day-delivery expectations 1 .

Supply chain management systems are under pressure to not only keep products stocked and logged, but to also enable seamless product location for quick and accurate dispatching.

With more customers demanding same-day delivery, the outdated supply chain processes will no longer be viable. Warehouse managers will need unprecedented visibility over stock to monitor its journey through the supply chain including the transportation route.

The ‘I want it now’ instant gratification mindset is feeding consumer cravings for faster and faster delivery, with industry players feverishly working to fulfil demand. Over the next five years, 67 per cent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery 2 .

So how do warehouses overcome these new challenges? The answer is intelligent fulfilment.

With the asistance of new technology, warehouse operations can become more “intelligent” and anticipate, analyse and adapt product levels to align with demand. Retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfilment and delivery expectations in a plot that is still unfolding.

For example, by 2028, 93 per cent of warehouses anticipate droids (small autonomous vehicles that deliver parcels via sidewalks instead of streets), will be a key method to meet delivery demands 3 .

In the warehouse, workers are being equipped with mobile computers that enable quick, automated inventory and cycle counting for nimble omnichannel order fulfilment. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions are also being deployed to give real-time visibility that streamlines operations and minimises data errors.

Furthermore, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are being leveraged to perform traditionally manual tasks such as picking, sorting, inspecting, handling and classifying products, in order to improve efficiency, worker productivity and speed-to-market. Additionally, AI in conjunction with machine learning can anticipate, analyse and adapt product levels to changing ecosystems caused by seasonal demand, and even predict future challenges.

Integrated order management, real-time scheduling and accurate tracking are just some of the ways intelligent fulfilment can help improve the customer

To learn more about intelligent fulfilment and the ways consumer demand is redefining the supply chain, click here.

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