Top Technology Trends Empowering Fulfillment Operations
Date Posted: 8/26/16
Original URL: http://www.tradeglobal.com/blog/top-trends-empowering-fulfillment-operations/
The eCommerce fulfillment market is complicated by its very nature. New trends are constantly emerging, and you need to remain at peak operational efficiency in order to avoid losing customers. With so many retailers simultaneously managing online and brick-and-mortar operations, a tremendous amount of pressure is placed on the technology platforms that connect these two worlds.
Technology plays a major role in retail fulfillment, providing a solid foundation that keeps companies humming along – despite the ever-evolving retail landscape. So, how is the direction of the industry shifting and how can you ensure you stay ahead of these changes?
Better Data Usage Strengthens Fulfillment
Multichannel Merchant recently looked back at key insights gleaned from its annual Operations Summit for global merchants. For instance, panelists speaking about omnichannel operations underlined the value of business intelligence and analytics systems. A fully-featured commerce operation today moves too quickly to track vital data without effective automated processes. That’s where technology comes into play; using these data-driven tools, you can keep a close eye on your KPIs over time.
In a separate Multichannel Merchant column, one industry CEO gave another ultimatum involving data use: It needs to reflect the current state of inventory. If you have insufficient tracking software, you could fall behind on even the most basic fulfillment tasks. A modern and comprehensive inventory management system provides a stream of information that can not only help to coordinate internal operations; it can also serve as a convincing argument in favor of new logistics partnerships. Your potential allies will want to know what they’re getting into in terms of value.
Inventory Management Software and RFID on the Rise
Of course, becoming efficient and data-driven is not an independent priority for merchants. A number of new technologies are coming together to make this vision of logistics a reality. Technavio’s latest survey of inventory management trends, the use of RFID tags and software that can track the resulting signals is on track to change the way warehouses are run.
The research organization revealed that retailers are increasingly tagging their products, allowing a more heavily automated view of inventory at any time. Getting accurate and up-to-date information is obviously important, so it’s not surprising that leaders are embracing solutions that can give them a closer look at what is happening within their supply chains.
Technavio explained that, with the rise in omnichannel sales, there is now a clear example of how and why real-time inventory management is so important. Unless you have a good view of where items are within your system, shoppers purchasing from in-person or online storefronts may run into out-of-stock items. These situations can be counteracted with high-speed data and a healthy dose of automation.
Tech Powered by Partnerships
While upgrading to the latest IT solutions is a key differentiator in retail, doing so in-house may not be the best decision. CompTIA’s Randy Gross, writing for CIO Review, suggested that companies handling their upgrades and transformations internally are losing valuable time that could otherwise go to making sales. He noted that replacing and improving technology is an important process, but should perhaps be handled by a third-party partner instead of a department within the retail organization itself.
According to Gross, there has been some hesitation to implement high-tech solutions in retail due to the pure size and scope of the industry. This will have to change in the years ahead, of course, as the author also praised IT systems’ ability to improve customer service while lowering overhead. When it comes to fulfillment operations, this combination of consumer happiness and financial efficiency is hard to pass up.
Marriage of IT and Physical Processes
Considering the rise of technology in both business and consumer environments, it’s little surprise that powerful IT processes will underlie effective fulfillment processes in the years ahead. eCommerce customers are interested in the kinds of high-speed service that is only possible when companies carefully add forward-thinking technology to solutions that have persisted for generations.
Surviving the speed accelerations constantly occurring in retail means making the types of additions described above, bringing new agility to the process of moving goods from Point A to Point B and leaving behind satisfied customers and happy partner organizations.
To learn more about our fulfillment services and how they can add value to your business, get in touch with us.