The New Back End
Inflexible systems, limited dock doors, staging space, unloading-reloading capacity and material handling resources all are constraints to high volume processing of prepackaged, single-item orders. Fulfillment centers must create the flexibility to accommodate the extreme highs and lows of these customer orders.
The challenge is to change from a multi-item, pick-pack, warehousing operation to more of a cross-dock operation. Increased dock doors, unload and reload capacity, staging areas, and high volume material handling, labeling and shipping are essential.
New Systems Development
Heavy investments in programming to keep up with the changing demands for processing and communications may not pay off if you’re not creating a flexible, low-cost system able to take advantage of new programming technology and high-speed hardware. So take a hard look at mature mainframe systems before investing in new development.
Look at new systems development with the belief that most of your accomplishments will be obsolete in a very short time. New programming technology and inexpensive, high-speed hardware are making it easier to invest in “throw away” applications designed to meet an immediate need followed by change.
The challenge is to create an information management environment that allows for rapid, low-cost development of new applications with easy access for all.
Traditional methods of demand forecasting and inventory planning aren’t yet effective for Internet sales. New customer demographics, geographics and the lack of sales history are preventing accurate forecasting. True demand is difficult to determine based on Internet activity. This includes lost orders when items are out of stock or when items are removed from the offering.
Shorter Cycle Demand
Increased demands are being placed on product suppliers and carriers to perform in a much shorter procurement cycle. Online vendor inbound shipments tracking and advanced receipt processing will become a requirement.
Jacksonville, Fla.-based sports merchandise multichannel merchant Football Fanatics carries more than 50,000 unique team and league-licensed products from NFL, college, MLB, NBA, NASCAR and NHL teams. An integral part of maintaining the utmost level of customer satisfaction involves the selection of a transportation professional as a partner to ensure the highest levels of service and efficiency.