Technology For Omnichannel Fulfillment Drives Customer Satisfaction

In unprecedented times, businesses must find new strategies to stay competitive. With a global crisis disrupting supply chains and consumer expectations transformed by new technology, many companies eagerly embraced omnichannel fulfillment in 2021.

Due to supply chain disruptions resulting from the pandemic, companies found front-end fulfillment more difficult. Surviving these disruptions, and those that will arise in the future, required a new vision, bringing formerly disparate operations together under one umbrella.

By juggling multiple methods for consumer product delivery, omnichannel fulfillment cut out the middlemen to speed up last-mile logistics. For example, retail giants like Target, Walmart, and Home Depot have adopted BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) or ROPIS (reserve online, pick up in-store) strategies.

Omnichannel fulfillment is the expectation

In traditional fulfillment models, items are drawn from separate inventories for different channels, reducing the efficiency of the fulfillment process. Organizations don’t have the option of cutting out the middleman in their fulfillment process any longer—they have to.

“It’s far easier to achieve widespread customer satisfaction when your fulfillment efforts are aligned with ensuring flexibility and choice – something that multi-channel merchants often struggle to achieve due to their siloed selling channels. Omnichannel fulfillment offers businesses a powerful strategy for meeting this demand for increasingly seamless retail experiences,” affirms Donal Brennan, Vice President, EMEA Operations and Global Projects at CTSI-Global.

Through omnichannel fulfillment, retailers have been able to meet and even exceed customer expectations resulting in repeat business and increased profit margins from more efficient distribution channels.

Innovation and creativity go a long way

Unlike a traditional fulfillment model, omnichannel fulfillment uses the same inventory for all delivery methods, so all channels have greater inventory access. But this model also presents additional challenges because it requires an investment in technology and infrastructure.

Large distribution companies like Amazon have been able to upscale and use their facilities to distribute their products as well as products from other suppliers. Companies starting from scratch have experienced more difficulty because they’ve been relying on third-party facilitators such as Amazon. But the downside with third parties is reduced margins.

Technology, innovation, and creativity can resolve the difficulty of getting products to market faster, which is the real issue—and the benefit of the transition to omnichannel fulfillment at scale. Companies with a culture of innovation and creativity are better able to navigate the change easily.

Technology is key to the transition

The first step to successfully implementing this change is to create a comprehensive strategy that covers the entire journey of your product. Be prepared to “close the loop” by exercising control over all areas of the fulfillment process, from the moment the order is generated to when it’s delivered.

Building a warehouse, if cost-effective, could be one way to accomplish this. Many companies are also opting to incorporate drop-shipping into their fulfillment models, eliminating the need for external carriers. Bringing these functions under one banner improves efficiency and enhances your ability to monitor the fulfillment process.

Whatever other steps are involved, the transition will definitely involve embracing technology and creative solutions to improve internal and customer-facing visibility. A robust transportation management system linked with enterprise resource planning software like SAP and Oracle can improve demand forecasting and metrics to optimize shipping and carrier costs.

Visibility and forecasting for omnichannel fulfillment

Full visibility is essential across all channels and can be achieved by linking current processes to give insights to end-users and internal users. Customers will have more confidence in the fulfillment process if they can see where their order is at any given time.

Final-mile delivery is the most crucial step—and it requires the most creativity. Getting the product to the end customer is the ultimate goal, but businesses often struggle with logistics and costs. Identifying the best carriers to deliver goods is a crucial step.

Your strategy should keep in mind the 90/10 rule. Focus on the 90% of orders fulfilled without problems. Then, turn to the 10% to consider how to overcome those problems in the future.

Integrated inventory management

CTSI-Global offers tools to bridge the gap in the transition to an omnichannel model. Honeybee TMS™ offers a track-and-trace module that works for both customers and suppliers, providing a clear view of where products are within the chain. Information about critical issues that may cause disruption or delays is also available.

Honeybee TMS™ links your company’s enterprise resource planning systems to integrate your logistics toolset to avoid siloing. CTSI-Global also helps with carrier selection and handles tracking, reporting, and communication, tackling one of the most significant obstacles in implementing omnichannel fulfillment: poor communication.

With these tools at your command, the transition to omnichannel order fulfillment becomes achievable. It would be a mistake to call it “straightforward”—after all, the point is that you aren’t going straightforward. But CTSI offers you the chance to look at the bigger picture and make the most informed decisions so that you can compete in a new world order of shipping.

Take your fulfillment model into the future. Contact us today to get started.