If supply chain leaders know one thing, it’s this: Their fulfillment operations need to change significantly.
Why? Because evolving consumer demand, labor challenges, and ongoing supply chain disruption are causing warehouse operations to fall short of delivering on the promises made to customers and investors.
Inside the four walls of the warehouse are highly choreographed flows of products, people, and materials fueled by data, equipment, and devices. If just one of the steps in the process is out of alignment, fulfillment operations are, at best, less efficient. Or, at worst, completely broken.
These challenges call for more than Band-Aid fixes. Fulfillment operations require an overhaul from the ground up so companies can remain competitive and meet customers’ expectations.
Recent research from Accenture shows that technologies and ways of working allow supply chain leaders to totally reinvent core elements of fulfillment—supply chain operations and customer service—and, thereby, their entire fulfillment operations.
These new ways of working can include wearable technologies, automation, autonomous vehicles, and drones. New technology enablers include digital twins, predictive analytics, and AI, each of which promises greater fulfillment accuracy.
Supply chain leaders must bring the right technologies and new ways of working together in a holistic strategy. This strategy needs to align operations with customer promises and create a fulfillment network that is efficient, flexible, sustainable and offers a clear ROI to the business.
A complete fulfillment assessment is a strategic starting point. This assessment focuses on current capabilities and typically includes the following:
Changes to fulfillment operations have an impact on the entire organization. To align fulfillment with the company’s broader vision, supply chain leaders must answer fundamental questions, including the following:
Assessment of the current state and alignment with the company’s broader vision are the pillars on which supply chain leaders can build their strategy for fulfillment reinvention.
But how does it all come together for fulfillment operations?
Don’t be enamored with new equipment or tech loaded with promises. Assess carefully while focusing on a holistic strategy that uses advanced simulation techniques and reinvents fulfillment operations with purpose.