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Credit by: Jim Gehr

Meeting existing expectations is already proving challenging for many organizations and moving to even shorter delivery times may require significant investments in facilities, people and technology. That creates a dilemma for organizations seeking to grow e-commerce sales: they can’t afford to fall behind customer expectations, but neither can they afford the substantial investments required to keep pace with the market.

There are four areas where existing operations are hitting a wall in terms of improving service requirements:

1. Network Design:

3PLs such as DHL Supply Chain, who have been supporting e-commerce since the early days

  • The development of flexible-use networks to provide companies struggling with capacity or service requirements with the ability to quickly transition to a purpose-built network designed to minimize transportation costs and support fast delivery.

  • 3PLs provide the knowledge and capability of converting existing replenishment operations to multi-channel operations capable of continuous flow e-commerce fulfillment.

2. Process Optimization:

The faster you can process orders, the later in the day you can accept orders for standard delivery, creating the potential for increased sales. Optimizing processes for e-commerce fulfillment requires both e-commerce experience and deep supply chain expertise, supported by established processes for driving continuous improvement.

3. Emerging Technology

  • DHL Supply Chain has evaluated a wide range of robotic-assisted picking technologies, both in its Innovation Center and in field trials.

  • Deploying various technologies that enable significant improvements in pick speeds and operator productivity from select approaches.

4. Labor Management

Meeting warehouse labor requirements requires a sophisticated approach to recruiting, training and retention that few organizations have the scale or expertise to implement. The benifits are :

  • Digitizing recruiting and onboarding processes can increase the number of applicants received for open positions.

  • Digital technologies are also being employed to provide warehouse associates with greater scheduling flexibility and expanded training opportunities.

In conclusion, the ready availability of flexible, shared-use fulfillment networks allows e-commerce and multi-channel businesses to continually adapt to changing service requirements while minimizing infrastructure costs and supply chain complexity.

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