Consumers have been enjoying the benefits of online shopping for years. The flexibility, availability of customer reviews, personalised offerings and product suggestions based on past purchase behaviours are only a few of the perks that make online shopping more appealing than a brick-and-mortar retail store.

While the rise of e-commerce across the retail and consumer goods industry is good news for consumers, it’s sending ripples through the supply-chain. With orders rapidly increasing, the demand for faster merchandise deliveries is redefying traditional distribution – with 77 per cent of warehouses struggling to meet new same-day-delivery expectations[1].

Supply-chain management system are under pressure to not only keep products stocked and logged, but to enable seamless product locating for quick and accurate dispatching.

With customers demanding for same-day delivery, the outdated supply-chain processes will no longer viable. Warehouse managers will need unprecedented visibility over stock to monitor its journey through the supply-chain including the transportation route.

The ‘I want it now’ instant-gratification mindset is feeding consumer cravings for faster and faster delivery, with industry players feverishly working to fulfil demand. Over the next five years 67 per cent of logistic companies expect to provide same-day-delivery[2].

So how do warehouses overcome these new challenges? The answer – intelligent fulfilment.

Through technology, warehouse operations can become more “intelligent” and anticipate, analyse and adapt product levels to align with demand. Retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfilment and delivery expectations in a plot that is still unfolding.

For example, by 2028, 93 per cent of warehouses anticipate droids (small autonomous vehicles that deliver parcels via sidewalks instead of streets), will be a key delivery method[3] to meet delivery demands.

Within the warehouse, workers are being outfitted with mobile computers that enable quick, automated inventory and cycle counting – for nimble omnichannel order fulfilment. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions are being deployed to give real-time visibility streamline operations and minimise data errors.

Furthermore, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are being leveraged to perform traditionally manual tasks such as picking, sorting, inspecting, handling and classifying products for improved efficiency, worker productivity and speed-to-market. Additionally, AI in conjunction with machine learning is able to anticipate, analyse and adapt product levels – specifically around changing ecosystems such as seasonal demand, or even predict future challenges.

Integrated order management, real-time scheduling and accurate tracking are just some of the way intelligent fulfilment can help improve the customer experience.

To learn more about intelligent fulfilment and the ways consumer demand is redefining the supply-chain, click here.