MHI Solutions

Fulfillment

FULFILLMENT UPDATE: Distribution Centers “Popping-Up” Closer

Distribution Centers “Popping-Up” Closer to the Customer to Meet eCommerce Demand

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert—

When it comes to ecommerce fulfillment, it’s all about location, location, location. And that location must deliver speed and agility. That’s why more and more retailers with ecommerce operations are augmenting their traditional larger distribution centers with “pop-up locations”—which can be temporary to handle orders during peak holiday seasons or sporting events, or semi-permanent to permanent to more quickly serve particular growing markets and urban areas.

“A lot of ecommerce warehouse and distribution buildings are increasing, as companies are constantly reducing the amount of time and the cost to fulfill orders,” says Brian C. Neuwirth, vice president of sales and marketing at MHI member UNEX Manufacturing. “We’ve seen a shift in putting distribution facilities as close to the customer as possible, especially for ecommerce businesses.”

There’s been a variety of locations that are specific to the end-customer, Neuwirth says. But many of these facilities are not automated or are just semi-automated, so there is still a good deal of manual operations going on inside of them—just because they may be temporary.

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This issue of MHI Solutions tackles the important topic of digital technologies in the supply chain industry, especially as it relates the transportation and logistics. Transportation plays a central role in supply chains, whether they are local or global enterprises. And just like the overall supply chain, transportation is facing a digital revolution including new solutions for tracking road, rail, sea and air freight and parcel transportation. These digital technologies are disrupting the industry, but they are also providing im-portant new solutions for transportation inefficiencies and urban logistics challenges. They are also creating new digital business models that enhance transparency and sustainability and contribute to end-to-end supply chain visibility. Like the innovations impacting supply chains, these trends are being driven by the growth of e-commerce and the consumers’ never-ending need for better, faster and cheaper. Ignoring them is done at your own peril.

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