Creating the most effective Omni Channel Fulfilment

April 22, 2014

Omni-channel or multi-channel fulfilment has significantly become the standard for retail providers, manufacturers and merchants to fulfill a broad wealth of different shipments. For that reason, operations now have to be more versatile and efficient to ensure the increasing range of order types and sizes are fulfilled, by showcasing order fulfilment processes with highly intelligent automation of the process.

So what is omni-channel fulfilment and how can it help your business?

Omni-channel fulfilment is known as the capability to process orders within the same fulfilment operation from multiple different sales channels. Fairway Fulfilment & Logistics have a vast amount of experience in omni-channel fulfilment.

Some of these can include:

  • Internet/direct to consumer
  • Speciality shops
  • Direct to big box merchants
  • To other distributors

To reach this level of flexibility, an operation needs the right innovations, design and processes to deliver this requirement. Consistent growth of internet fulfilment with instant mobile orders, and same day client shipment expectations, can lead to distribution operations having to pick,pack and ship in two to four hours, or even less, which is far less time than that given with existing 8-hour shipment windows.

Many fulfilment operations struggle to find the correct balance between picking, packing and delivering innovations with best practice when executing lean Omni-channel fulfilment operations. The most successful operations process a mix of Less than Truckload (LTL) shipments with full-pallet and/or mixed-case-pallet orders, are able to create a system of fluid-loading directly to the trailer, and can balance the complexities compounded by the growing need for incorporated split and mixed-case orders. Shipment labeling requirements and order and dispatch paperwork requirements can further complicate the situation.

Internet fulfilment sees the usual spikes throughout the year, and nonstop order volume driven by product releases, produces more challenges for specifying and developing procedures and software needs of a successful operation. Countless orders per hour of both multi SKU and single item orders and the consumer demand for the most affordable shipping techniques needed to deliver orders direct to consumers often result in problems for standard distribution operations.

Omni-channel order fulfilment necessitatess a comprehensive plan that thinks about all the dynamics needed to stabilize workloads and effectively process customers orders in a simultaneous parallel running pick and pack process for each unique fulfilment channel.

The release of orders is the driving force of the operation and needs the right algorithms to adeptly and intelligently handle the mix of orders to satisfy consumer requirements.

Other omni-channel requirements include:

  • A proper order fulfilment design which must include SKU slotting based upon the order mix and the material storage equipment/storage area;
  • Speed, effectiveness and precision in choosing to fill orders and move and coordinate labor to the work zones based upon the present order wave volume;
  • Scalable design to fulfill the company’s five-year development projections and business approaches;
  • Design based on lean low-touch procedures to decrease future and present labor requirements;
  • Tested processes improved by the most current automation innovations to decrease execution risk,
  • Improvement of accuracy and consumer contentment,
  • Higher operational earnings

Once the design is solidified, it should be simulated and monitored to ensure the new design is fully workable prior to implementation. Then it may be time to transfer to the right mix of automation technologies to improve processes and execute a lean, automated pick, pack and ship order fulfilment operation.

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