As technology grows and quickens the pace of everyday life, order fulfillment services must respond in kind. Warehouses and distribution centers must become faster, more accurate, and more efficient to meet the increasing demands of their customer base. In fact, companies that cannot provide same-day shipping will eventually be outmaneuvered by companies like Amazon, Walmart, and e-Bay, who are all moving towards same-day, and in some cases, same-hour delivery options.
This trend has been broken wide open by Amazon’s recent “anticipatory shipping” patent, which gives Amazon the ability to ship products towards customers before they actually purchase anything. They use the data and purchasing preferences of customers in a specific region to ship desired SKUs to the appropriate distribution center to drastically reduce the shipping times Amazon can offer. For other distribution centers, competing with this change means having even more SKUs on hand in order to reduce delivery times and keep customers from making their purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Warehouses would also require the ability to roll with the evolving needs and preferences of customers, requiring a flexible order picking system that can handle surges of SKUs based on these preferences.
UNEX has worked with several companies facing the monumental task of providing accurate same-day deliveries- in particular, the Manhatten-based Fresh Direct. Fresh Direct supplies over 63,000 orders of fresh groceries per week to residents throughout the bustling city-with guaranteed delivery times. As demand for this service increases, Fresh Direct must accommodate this demand by supplying more SKUs than ever before without physically expanding in the already cramped city. Pick rates have to be maximized in order to deliver those SKUs to their customers within hours of ordering.
With a UNEX order picking system in place, Fresh Direct was able to increase space utilization within their existing pallet rack by 50% and allowed them to add 500 SKUs in the first year of phasing in the new system. Pick times were reduced by 42%, and travel time between each pick was reduced by 80%. For Fresh Direct, this meant more space to handle increasing demand, and faster order picking to insure they met their guaranteed delivery times.
As companies like Amazon collect more and more data on their customers’ purchasing preferences, the demand to carry more SKUs and provide same-day or same-hour delivery will increase. Companies who cannot meet this demand will simply fall by the wayside. Even for the successful company Fresh Direct, the specter of Amazon Fresh looms not too far behind them. These companies have turned to UNEX in order to drastically reduce time between stocking an SKU and dropping it at a satisfied customer’s doorstep.
To learn more about UNEX’s work with Fresh Direct, check out our case study. If you’re looking to make same-day delivery services a reality for your order picking operation, UNEX can supply the solutions you need to make it happen.