Tompkins Fulfillment Services

Welcome to my 3rd edition of Q&A with Dr. Tompkins. Today I will answer questions related to automation and technology, and the impacts on supply chain.

Q & A with Jim Tompkins

What will be the biggest change in the next 5 years, the key technologies that are having a major impact on supply chain? 
A big question, let me give you my top 4:

  1. Today we deal with container, pallet, and case supply chains. Going forward we will deal with these three plus the “EACH” supply chain. Each will flow for Direct-to-Consumer, Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), wholesale, and store replenishment.
  2. We will not be focusing on Inventory Stock, but rather on Inventory Flow.
  3. We will realize having the right answer will not be as important as being able to respond quickly when you have the wrong answer.
  4. We will be using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to address many of the key future supply chain challenges.

What types of automation are needed within eCommerce now, and how much more automation will be required five years from now to keep pace with the competition?
A year ago, we began a capital raising campaign that resulted in our presenting MonarchFx to 17 private equity and funding organizations. Out of these firms, 16 of the 17 asked us a question similar to the following: “We understand how your technology is better than Amazon’s in 2018, but how are you going to be able to stay in front of Amazon going forward?” They thought they were asking the hard question. Our answer was to explain to them our ‘Next solution,’ our ‘Next, Next solution’, our ‘Next, Next, Next solution’…. Now we are up to 7 ‘Next’s’ in our base U.S. ambient temperature MonarchFx solution. The “keep pace with the competition question” used to be a good question, but now we are living where the pace of change is so rapid that this question is not really a very good question. The new question is “Given the rapid rate of change, how do you disrupt the competition at such a pace that you stay #1.” The answer of course is to always be looking out at least 4 or 5 ‘Nexts’ so by the time the competition reaches your ‘Next,’ you have already moved onto ‘Next, Next.’

If you missed last week's Q&A you may read it here. Talk to you again next week!


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

Executive Assistant: Debbie Flynn, 919-855-5447