The process for stock management and fulfilment planning has been consistent for nearly a century. Years of experience and insight by skilful fulfilment professionals elevated the science to more of an art that was honed through years of consistent experiences.
Within the past five years, consumer demand for fast and free delivery, the enablement of the store network as fulfilment activity nodes, and the subsequent margin pressures have rendered most of that knowledge obsolete.
Retailers are responding with omnichannel initiatives, and for those who are refining their unified distribution, exposing the right stock to the right customer is not the end of the story. The ability to minimise reductions and out-of-stock events, while maximising the usage of returned stock balanced with historical store performance, current traffic and resource load, requires real-time, intelligent optimisation beyond what a human can do alone.
Adaptive Network Fulfilment (ANF) uses intelligent optimisation to evaluate large numbers of parameters across fulfilment, transportation, stores and customers in real time to maximise margins and the profitability of digitally influenced orders with minimal impact on in-store shopping experiences and store labour.
Adaptive Network Fulfilment is the final piece of the stock management puzzle for omnichannel retailers, adding optimised sourcing to global stock visibility and dynamic availability views to make promises that you can keep to your customers, profitably.
And because stores are on their way to becoming one of the most critical components in an omnichannel retailer’s fulfilment network, the complexities and differences of using a store as opposed to a distribution centre for fulfilment must be reconciled. The store requires evaluation of additional considerations such as historical performance of fulfilment activities, staffing load, in-store traffic and stock levels.
Optimising how stores are utilised for fulfilment creates the opportunity for quicker delivery times by taking advantage of proximity to customer and optimal stock utilisation for profitability and service commitments. Merchants are able to expand fulfilment capacity during sales, promotions and other peak periods, and increase order margins by making use of local and/or marked-down stock. In fact, retailers can enjoy a reduced risk of reductions and returns by making use of locations with the deepest supply levels and increased customer satisfaction by saving a potentially lost sale if a product is not available at a DC but is available in a nearby store.
- Define optimisation strategies based on service levels, free shipping, clearance items and customer classifications
- Evaluate multiple fulfilment considerations holistically
- Convert each consideration to a cost of fulfilment, including shipping/handling, capacity, rejection rate, stock levels, days of supply, selling price and proximity to customer
- Balance fulfilment workload across facilities
- Address surplus units and protect last units in-store Utilise historical rejections rates, accuracy and workload
- Ship from stores with price reductions in addition to shipping and handling costs Use incentives or deterrents based on real-time data, such as surplus stock or maximum fulfilment capacity
- Prioritise fulfilment from facilities that are designed for volume, such as distribution centres and larger footprint stores
- View every fulfilment decision, with overall cost breakdown and decision parameters
- See single order detail or real-time global network performance
- Route orders and track status in real time to a distributed network of DCs, stores and suppliers
- Support complex merge-in-transit fulfilment flows for a single delivery to the customer
- Utilise vendor drop-ship order fulfilment
- Handle fulfilment outages, capacity constraints and stock protection