E-commerce and multichannel retailing are placing greater demands on order fulfillment practitioners, according to a new study released by Saddle Creek Corp. The E-Fulfillment Trends Report examines how companies today are addressing the challenge of providing efficient, cost-effective, service-driven fulfillment operations.
The report is based on online survey responses from 160 retailers, distributors and manufacturers involved in e-fulfillment functions. It explores best practices, common challenges, and emerging trends in e-fulfillment nationwide. Research highlights include:
• The rise of e-commerce has elevated order fulfillment operations to a critical business function. The practice now requires sophisticated processes, state-of-the-art resources, and an in-depth understanding of multiple sales channels.
• There is a distinct trend toward multichannel retailing (i.e., in store, catalog and online) as the majority of respondents (56.87 percent) use more than one sales channel.
• The demand to deliver perfect orders and a consistent brand experience from channel to channel can be challenging for many companies. Processing time for outbound orders (35 percent), system integration (29.4 percent), and upholding service standards (29.4 percent) are particularly weighty responsibilities, according to respondents.
• To accommodate the increasing sophistication of fulfillment practices, 39.4 percent of respondents outsource some or all of their e-fulfillment operations. The most widely mentioned advantages were "alternative to investment in overhead/infrastructure" and "opportunities for cost savings."
"The data points to the growing complexity of the order fulfillment process," said Jeff Jones, vice president, sales and marketing, for ProLog Logistics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saddle Creek Corp. "Today, e-fulfillment has evolved to a level of sophistication that requires carefully planned processes, scalable operations, state-of-the-art systems, efficient transportation and superior customer service. Given these demands, it's not surprising that many companies are turning to outsourcing to manage some or all of their fulfillment function."
For the complete E-Fulfillment Trends Report, click here.
Source: Saddle Creek Corp.
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