Tompkins Fulfillment Services
Q & A with Jim Tompkins

There seems to be a big talent gap in supply chain – how can we solve for it? This is a huge problem, but the reality is, the supply chain is a very difficult field for training people. The reason for this is the breadth of the field (Plan-Buy-Make-Move-Store-Sell), and the complexity and interrelationship of these 6 mega-processes. The talent gap is not going to be solved by moaning and groaning or trying to hire the perfect candidate. The talent gap will only be solved when we accept this as a major responsibility of development. Therefore, what must be done is for your organization to hire the best candidates you can find and invest in developing them, grow your own talent.

What impact does the labor shortage have on the growth of eCommerce? The shortage of labor increases the cost of logistics labor and makes the justification of automation easier. A challenge here is the need to store product close to the customers for better delivery costs. This may result in more fulfillment locations, lower volumes, and difficulty in justifying automation. Thus, the opportunity for multi-tenant, distributed logistics highly automated, scalable solutions such as, MonarchFx.

What are the biggest drivers disrupting today’s supply chains? This is a HUGE question, let me give you my top five:

  1. New Retail/ O2O (online to offline)/Unichannel: Bricks vs. Clicks and Online vs. Offline are dead. Today’s New Retail is about Bricks & Clicks, Online & Offline, and Unichannel. Today’s New Retail is about providing consumers a seamless and integrated journey, regardless of channel.
  2. Retail/Wholesale/B2B, B2C, O2O are all morphing into Commerce.
  3. Customer satisfaction does not result from giving customers what they need, but what they think is cool. What does this mean? Give the customer more, same day delivery is really cool for customers living in a big city.
  4. Sorry, labor is not available. Robotics and autonomous vehicles are needed to get the job done. Flexible, adaptive, portable automation is available.
  5. Inventory visibility, availability, and flow are big deals and must be optimized.

If you missed last week's Q&A you may read it here. Stay tuned next week for my third installment of “Q&A with Dr. Tompkins.”


James A. Tompkins, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO, MonarchFx

Executive Assistant: Debbie Flynn, 919-855-5447