MHI Solutions

Fulfillment

FULFILLMENT UPDATE: Fulfillment Ideas Catching Fire, Sparking Flames of Innovation

A number of improvements to the fulfillment process are now catching fire industrywide, while early adopters are exploring other innovations, MHI members say.

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Amazon is driving e-commerce, but brick-and-mortar stores are just now trying to adjust, and so omnichannel is becoming an even bigger issue, says Antonio Rodrigues, sales executive at MHI member DMW&H.

“A lot of retailers still don’t have a clear visibility of what inventory is between distribution centers and the stores,” Rodrigues says. “They still use old systems or rely on phone calls, and they often have to wait over 24 hours to get an accurate report on what the stores actually have on hand.”

Another challenge is when consumers buy products online but then return them in stores, he says. A lot of retailers don’t know the costs involved with that, or what’s even coming back and then what to do with the products.

“They are just now adjusting their digital systems to gain more visibility, control and plan across all locations, so they can, in effect, use their stores as a small distribution depot to compete with the large e-commerce retailers,” Rodrigues says.

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.
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