MHI Solutions


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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According to the recently released 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” eight out of ten survey respondents believe these supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. However, the report found that the adoption of some of these technologies was slower than originally reported when MHI started the annual report in 2014. The report cites three top barriers to adoption of these technologies: 1. Making the business case for NextGen supply chain investments. 2. Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage. 3. Building trust and security in digital, always-on supply chains. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these digital solutions, from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and innovations in last mile delivery.

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