E-commerce Surge Requires Flexible, Customer-driven Fulfillment Centers

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New Tompkins International Video Reveals Strategies to Meet Boom in Online Ordering

Distribution operations are stressed, and companies are struggling to keep up with online demand.

When is a fulfillment center like a traditional distribution center in this age of e-commerce? “Never” is the best answer, according to Tompkins International experts featured in the new video Fulfillment Centers and E-commerce.

“Distribution operations are stressed, and companies are struggling to keep up with online demand,” says Kelly Reed, EVP and fulfillment center expert at Tompkins International. “Orders need to be picked and shipped right away to meet customer expectations for speedy delivery, and this means designing fulfillment centers that are dedicated to responding to online orders instead of replenishing stores.”

The operational requirements behind a successful fulfillment center are also different than for a distribution center. In fact, it is the business and operations strategy that drives the order fulfillment network. The capabilities needed for each company’s e-commerce strategy are customized and include developing flexible solutions for shorter time horizons, understanding the balance between automation and constraints, and properly sizing the packing operation.

Peak shipping times are more intense in fulfillment centers, orders sizes are smaller, and there are typically more stock-keeping units (SKUs) to provide customers with an “endless aisle” experience.

“Traditional retail and wholesale distribution centers will need to evolve into flexible, multichannel fulfillment centers,” Reed adds. “Let’s face it – companies that provide the best customer experience and deliver the right products, at the right time, and in the right quantities and condition, will build customer loyalty. This will determine the winners in the new e-commerce world.”

To learn more about designing and implementing the right fulfillment center for e-commerce, watch the video and see how it applies to your business strategy.

About Tompkins International
Tompkins International transforms supply chains to help create value for all organizations. For more than 35 years, Tompkins has provided end-to-end solutions on a global scale, helping clients align business and supply chain strategies through operations planning, design and implementation. The company delivers leading-edge business and supply chain solutions by optimizing the Mega Processes of PLAN-BUY-MAKE-MOVE-DISTRIBUTE-SELL. Tompkins supports clients in achieving profitable growth in all areas of global supply chain and market growth strategy, organization, operations, process improvement, technology implementation, material handling integration, and benchmarking and best practices. Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, USA, Tompkins has offices throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.tompkinsinc.com.

Myra Schwartz

Twitter: @jimtompkins
Videos: http://www.tompkinsinc.com/category/videos/
Creating Supply Chain Excellence Blog: http://www.tompkinsinc.com/category/blog/
Global Supply Chain Podcast: http://www.tompkinsinc.com/category/podcast/

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Myra Schwartz
Tompkins International
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