Welcome to the 10th edition of Q&A with Dr. Tompkins. Please be sure to write me any of the questions you may be having with regards to your own eCommerce supply chain operations.
QUESTION: What are the technology breakthroughs MonarchFx is bringing to the table that will improve supply chain excellence?
1. tWES - Tompkins Warehouse Execution System
For orchestrating automated processes and robotic technology in the warehouse, MonarchFx utilizes tWES. As a cloud-based, multi-tenant solution, tWES is a true product, with flexibility to adapt to operational needs through extensive configurability. eCommerce fulfillment and store replenishment operations are supported by tWES through waveless and wave-based task management. With tWES, MonarchFx can easily adapt its automation to seller requirements.
Powered by the SensorThink IoT Platform, tWES can seamlessly integrate with any automation solution to exchange information and monitor performance. With a constant awareness of system capacities and knowledge of the order pool, tWES can optimize workflows and balance tasks across picking, order consolidation, packing, and shipping, ensuring MonarchFx the most efficient operation possible. This integration capability also allows MonarchFx to continually evolve its operations with the latest innovations in warehouse technology.
As a web-enabled application, quick access to a comprehensive view of tWES operational data and performance is available from any internet browser on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. This provides both local and enterprise level visibility throughout the MonarchFx network. Order fulfillment status is available anywhere, anytime.
2. DIFF- Distributed Inventory Flow Forecasting
DIFF is a software model that MonarchFx is configuring, along with its technology partner Vanguard Software, that provides two innovative applications for eCommerce businesses.
First, it contains state-of-the-art Demand Planning functions that are based on proprietary algorithms, and combined with user business rules, these produce customized demand forecasts for online sales, by product category and items. The demand forecasts accommodate many consumers and businesses buying factors that are found in the eCommerce and New Retail environments. Second, it contains inventory optimization functions that are based on “flow”, rather than traditional inventory stocking methods. Thus, fast-moving items, combined with new products, brand extensions, and others, are stocked and replenished based on both the forecasted and the actual sales in weekly time periods.
For the Sellers of products online, these important features provide 3 valuable decision support answers:
- How much, of what category and item level, to stock in forward-fulfillment centers at any given time.
- Short-term demand forecasts, by location, that are aligned with the Seller’s assortments and service strategy.
- When, what, where, and how much to replenish in order to minimize distributed inventories, while maximizing sales and product margins.
DIFF is configured for each Seller, and is unique to eCommerce and e-Fulfillment operations.
3. MSP- MonarchFx Seller Portal
MSP is a web-enabled/cloud-based application, middleware, and integration-layer. It is designed to be used as a Seller user-interface and a single point of integration between the MonarchFx information technology suite and the Sellers’ business systems.
The MonarchFx IT architecture consists of several best-of-breed applications that are integrated, and a Seller may choose to use all or a subset of these applications depending on need. As MonarchFx implements new and enhanced applications, the seller can determine which to leverage based on their specific requirements. In this way, MonarchFx continuously identifies, assesses, and deploys applications that offer Sellers the most advanced supply chain management solution in a single, turnkey platform via MSP. This approach positions MonarchFx as the go-to FaaS (Fulfillment-as-a-service) provider in the marketplace and allows MonarchFx Sellers to concentrate on their markets, products, and customers.
The MSP can be accessed several ways:
- Sellers may access the MSP directly with any internet browser using single sign-on credentials provided by MonarchFx. The MSP enables Sellers to self-register, enter information, upload files, query the MonarchFx suite of applications and access the Seller Dashboard. The Seller Dashboard aggregates and displays critical data, information and alerts, keeping the Seller informed and facilitates a “management by exception” approach.
- Marketplace and/or Marketplace Aggregators may embed the features and functionalities of MSP in their own application through published, standard API routines and communication protocols. In the same way, Sellers can use the MSP in a marketplace or marketplace aggregators’ “front-end”.
- Sellers may also use the actual MSP webpages in their own applications, and Sellers may choose to use a combination of these deployment strategies to best fit their needs.
Think of the MSP as a flexible, single gateway to an ever-growing and continuously innovating MonarchFx information technology solution.
If you missed Part 9 of my Q&A series you can find it here and be sure to send me your questions!
James A. Tompkins, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO, MonarchFx
Executive Assistant: Debbie Flynn, 919-855-5447