The Benefits of Augmented Fulfillment
By Jeff Ashcroft
Vice President of Business Development, MonarchFx
As previously discussed, Augmented Fulfillment (AF) is the addition and integration of a specialized suite of technology, flexible automation and forward micro-fulfillment locations which will effectively 'augment' your current fulfillment network allowing you to improve next day and same day delivery to consumers.
What retailers and e-tailers need to understand is:
Distributed Order Management (DOM)
Working closely with an Augmented Fulfillment Provider (AFP) will require effective order management allowing all parties to rapidly know if the in-house fulfillment center, store or, which of the AF provider micro-fulfillment centers will be deliver the consumers orders. All successful retailers and e-tailers going forward will certainly need some form of DOM capability and integrating with an AFP to provide these capabilities at virtually no additional cost as an integrated component of the service offering.
Add Automated Local Micro-Fulfillment Centers
Working with an AFP can allow logistics and eCommerce business executives to work together to design the solution which best fits the needs of the business. It is important to note the flexibility of the AFP offering means that the number and locations of micro-fulfillment centers used can be adjusted on an ongoing annual basis to match the changing needs of the business and consumers. Driving the need for these micro-fulfillment centers is something called The Automated Local Fulfillment Imperative.
Capture Delivery Savings Utilizing Local to Local Delivery Options
Shifting inventory closer to customers and shipping from stores means traditional courier hubs and spoke models are becoming less efficient as they add time and cost to delivery. Utilizing the AFP's micro-fulfillment network provides a methodology of intercepting these shipments and redirecting for immediate delivery and lower delivery cost.
Double, Triple or Quadruple Same & Next Day Delivery Coverage
Working with an AFP means that businesses can quickly understand and implement the desired customer delivery service levels and geographic coverage. AFP models have been developed and show required micro-fulfillment center utilization in order to double, triple and quadruple the population covered by service level.
Add Flexible Replenishment Options for B2B Wholesale or Store Replenishment
Given the number of channels brands and retailers need to deliver to, the complexity and compliance requirements are now bordering on the ridiculous for in-house operations to support so many varying pack, label and deliver methods. Brands and retailers can ship product to the AFP in bulk and then AFP will configure and deliver based on the directions provided via the DOM system. As well, if desired rapid store replenishment at the each level for selected categories can also be driven from the AFP micro-fulfillment centers allowing for potential store space and inventory reductions.
Upgrade In-House Fulfillment Automation
One other potential benefit available from working with AF is to utilize the AFP automation and technology solutions to enhance and improve brand and retailer in-house operations. Working with the AFP in micro-fulfillment centers means that all of the integration, order and control requirements are already in place and can be leveraged to assist with internal improvement initiatives as appropriate and necessary.
Welcome to the world of AF where solutions to looming rapid fulfillment and delivery challenges can now be found, modeled and then rapidly implemented providing both merchants and logistics operators with the tools needed to work together and solve ever increasing consumer demands for an accelerated customer delivery experience.