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You Need it When?! The Challenges of Same-Day Delivery

Blake Bearden & Joe Campbell | 22 September 2021

Knowing what goes on behind the scenes in the logistics business from the time I submit my order online to the time it hits my doorstep, I can appreciate companies that are stretching to offer same-day delivery or BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) services.

Many of the companies offering same-day delivery, are doing so despite losing money with these service offerings. Manual picking processes for single, ecommerce orders are inherently labor intensive and time consuming. To add to that, the labor market has changed and rethinking of how to better utilize current staff for faster and more accurate rates is top of mind.

According to reports, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated consumer behavior to rely on the importance of convenience, especially as it relates safer and faster shopping options. This has put same-day delivery and BOPIS at the top of distribution center automation objective lists.

Strategizing For Faster Order Fulfillment

So, how do retailers adjust operations for a better ROI and how do they balance current labor market challenges? Whether you have an omnichannel or direct to consumer, local fulfillment operation, below are some key points when considering a same-day delivery strategy.

Omnichannel: A Multifaceted Approach

Traditionally, retailers have separated distribution operations for the fulfillment of retail stores and ecommerce customers but with increased digitization and an influx of ecommerce orders, omnichannel distribution approaches have grown. Why?   

1. Location, Location, Location! And the good locations are never cheap. To meet the demand for tighter deliveries, companies must look to locate their distribution facilities near major metropolitan areas where real estate commands a premium. In order to remain competitive and turn a profit, maximizing the use of the vertical cube for greater storage capacity will become increasingly important.

2. Compression of the Order Fulfillment Process. With traditional fulfillment allowing a longer cutoff window to meet service levels, same-day shipping requires the pick-pack-ship process to be handled not in hours but literally minutes.  Adding to this complexity is the nature of an ecommerce order which typically is comprised of individual SKUs versus full cases, resulting in labor-intensive and more difficult picking operations.

3. New and Emerging Technologies. With the fulfillment process timeline being compressed, companies will need to look at ways to reduce the time needed to fulfill an order and eliminate excess touch points and travel time in warehouse operations. The current labor market has strained operations so finding solutions that help to reduce walk time and, generally, better utilize labor for greater efficiency. Goods to person technologies such as shuttles, robotics, and automated sortation and retrieval systems (ASRS) are increasingly commonplace to replace labor-intensive and repetitive tasks, as companies manage these demanding service levels. Several of these technologies require minimal operator training time and improve effectiveness as compared to manual picking. AutoStore, for example, is up to 50% more effective and Scallog helps operators be three-times more productive. Technology advancements are also accommodating a wider, more scalable range of products.

Direct to Consumer: Scalable Ultra-Fast Processing

For businesses that are focused on direct to consumer shipments, ecommerce growth has meant accommodating to rapid business increases; increases that can no longer be supported by manual push carts and order printouts, for example. To meet the demand and prepare businesses for future growth, it’s key to consider:

1. Facility Space. Assessment of current space constraints and future growth. Consider creative solutions that allow for order fulfillment inventory increase without costly business interruptions or facility expansions. Automation technologies like goods to person and picking technologies like pick to light and voice picking generally offer flexible layouts that can accommodate existing facility space.

2. Ultra-High-Density Storage. – Review your current and future order profiles. How much space should you plan for and how much seasonal fluctuation do you need to accommodate?  Goods to person systems can provide flexible, high-density storage options that easily accommodate scaled growth and open the possibilities to support both local microfulfillment needs and omnichannel purposes.

3. Futureproofing. – Reduce labor costs and improve efficiency and throughput with dedicated stations that offer better ergonomics with less walking, bending, reaching and increased safety. Goods to person workstations, coupled with supporting WES (Warehouse Execution System), offers real-time data that integrates to your inventory system which delivers accurate order data directly to operator workstations. This means reduced picking costs and improved accuracy. Additionally, the technology infrastructure is designed with change in mind – bots and workstations can be added as needed with minimal disruption to the operation. This makes it easier to accommodate your warehouse to not only changing consumer demands but also changing labor markets.

Leveraging Automation Technology

Together with cutting edge technologies and innovative system integration, we can help you find the right combination to meet your business needs and best support your customers. From maximizing facility space, higher picking rates or adapting to changing consumer demands, Bastian Solutions leverages knowledge from a broad spectrum of industry segments to meet the latest trends and market changes.

Author: Blake Bearden, Joe Campbell

Blake Bearden is a regional director with Bastian Solutions and works out of the greater Los Angeles area office. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in human factors engineering and has an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Blake has experience with automation across a range of industries including 3PL, retail distribution, manufacturing, food and beverage, and e-commerce and omni-channel fulfillment.

Joe is a Regional Manager at Bastian Solutions. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis. As Regional Sales Manager, he leads of team of talented project and application engineers supporting a number of customers with automation and material handling needs.


Can dogs eat cat food says:
8/28/2018 10:09 AM

Can dogs eat cat food The Challenges of Same-Day Delivery | The Material Handling Blog

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