Speed of fulfilment was identified as a top challenge for 40% of the companies that responded to a Supply Chain Management Survey carried out for Access. Speed is a critical factor in order fulfilment and failure to perform can cost businesses dear. Access has launched a new white paper based on this research, titled: ‘Breaking the fulfilment speed barrier’, which sets out how to speed up while maintaining accuracy.
The biggest cause of fulfilment delay and inaccuracy is paper, according to the survey, which also suggests that a good supply chain solution will support a variety of technologies to eliminate paperwork. Warehouse planning will help speed picking, while supporting several different pick strategies will save time and increase labour efficiency. Other measures with a positive impact on fulfilment speed include an increasing use of mobile devices within a good supply chain solution. Robust sales forecasts, meanwhile, can accelerate pre-ordering and manufacturing.
The white paper points out that in an increasingly e-commerce driven economy, speed, along with accuracy, of fulfilment is a critical factor that can differentiate one supplier from another, influence buying behaviour, and ultimately, win or lose business. Consumers, especially on the Internet, increasingly expect next day or even same day delivery as standard. Combined with minimal stock-holding, this is likely to add to the mounting pressure on supply chains to respond instantly to purchase orders and manufacturing requisitions.
Ian Roper, Director of Access, said: “Improving the speed and accuracy of fulfilment while controlling the costs of execution is one of the key sources of competitive advantage available throughout business and commerce. While the necessary measures may start on the shop floor and in the warehouse, successful fulfilment depends on communicating and seamlessly integrating with all the partners in the extended supply chain.”
He concluded: ‘Fulfilment’ implies the entire process from receipt of order to satisfactory delivery to, and acceptance by, the customer and there are many procedures and handovers that need to be streamlined and co-ordinated if the ‘promise’ is to be met in a competitive fashion. By giving all parties the visibility they need, the supply chain becomes not just faster but more flexible, and better able to understand and adapt to the impact of events. A good supply chain system will not only improve speed and accuracy within manufacturing and warehousing; it will help streamline and accelerate all the third party processes, from suppliers to carriers that influence successful fulfilment.”