E-commerce supply chain is constantly evolving
by Mr. A. Ravikumar, GM-Business Development. As the purchase trend is evolving, so is the market that is handling its mechanics. While supply chain experts are stepping up their efforts to meet the increasing demand, retailers are leveraging these efforts and crafting creative solutions to store and mobilize products. The tremendous efforts of change and improvement, that are completely invisible to the consumer, are the elements that are keeping the industry in touch with the times.
The factors that are affecting these changes can be broken down into three major categories; Constantly Evolving Consumer Experience, Extreme Urbanization and Booming Ecommerce Industry.
Adjusting processes as per the consumers’ shopping experience is a moving target. Any procedure that is set in place to meet their demands is constantly at risk of being rendered obsolete. As a result, the industry is doing everything in its power to keep them happy and this involves layers upon layers of detailed planning to keep up with.
Let’s look at some of the major parameters in E-Commerce supply chain.
Shortening Delivery Times:
For the consumers who opt for one-day or same-day deliveries, supply chain industries are making special provisions in partnership with the manufacturers. Some companies are also enabling the consumers to pick up their purchases from nearby hubs. This helps companies mobilize transport units only to storage areas and circumvent the details of doorstep delivery. This not only helps reduce the load on the logistics proceedings, but also helps cut down anticipated delivery times from the consumers’ perspective.
The customers of today expect a higher level of transparency in their purchase experience. They are now more aware of the processes of retail, storage and delivery. Thanks to the new advancements in technology, companies now have full visibility of the supply chain. This in turn helps the companies empower the customers to view the details of the products they have ordered. Consumer-grade mobile phones and tablets are now powerful enough to have tracking algorithms incorporated in purchase cycles. This new addition in the supply chain has changed the face of E-commerce.
To keep up with the E-commerce challenges, companies find it a lot easier to meet demands when their efforts are collaborated. Valuable capital and time are saved in the process, that can be channelized toward resolving other challenges. Companies are opting to combine their efforts to meet production, storage and delivery demands and suit the requirements of the buyer. Manufacturers, 3PLs and distributors are coming together as vital links in the chain.
Key requisites for efficient operation:
- Experienced 3PL service provider
- Versatility & Experience in handling multiple products
- Geographical Coverage
- Technological advantage – Experience in handling Sophisticated & automated setup
- Cost advantage
- Ramp up & Ramp down with round the clock operations
- Skilled Logistics Professionals
- Flexibility & Adaptability
- Ability to quickly setup any new projects
- Management of Key Performance Indicators
Operational Capabilities of ProConnect:
ProConnect understands the nitty-gritties required for maintaining the stringent SLAs smoothly. E-commerce fulfilment is basically a piece-pick operation, which is historically a hands-on procedure. The right automation facilitates the minimization of manual touch, resulting in more accurate orders, improved ergonomics, lower labour costs and worker travel time, fewer returns, and space saved by operating in a smaller area.
Speed & Fulfilment are the key priorities in this vertical. Every order comes with its own urgency & need, these needs to be processed & packed neatly to ensure complete satisfaction to the end consumer when he receives. ProConnect ensures proper QC while receipt to ensure no damaged products are received. These are stored in the right place for timely processing & packing during order dispatch.
Clear Guidelines are followed for right kind of packing to avoid any damages to the product while in transit.
Measures ProConnect has initiated to improve operational efficiency & the results:
|Measures to improve operation efficiency||Impact & Results|
|1||Implemented TAT- Order Reservation to Dispatches as 1 hour||Fulfilled 100% Customers orders on time|
|2||Check Point at each stage to control Mis-shipment||Increased dispatch accuracies|
|3||Periodic training & staff assessment||Continuous improvement|
|4||Kaizen Principle adaptation||Productivity & hygiene increase|
|5||ABC Analysis for Consumables requirements & Procurements||Higher inventory turns|
|6||Implemented 5’s Principles||Improves organisation hygiene|
|7||Implemented dashboards for continuous monitoring||Effective decision making|
|8||Process Layout optimization to enhance productivity||Reduce unnecessary material movements & increase productivity|
As the E-Commerce industry and consumer demands and expectations change, so must the supply chain. It is all about meeting customer demands while keeping things profitable and sustainable.