I have had the pleasure of participating in several BWG Strategy/eCom Advisory seminars. They are great events and if you are not engaged you can check them out here, and by reaching out to Michael Zakkour. These events are so successful as they often ask difficult questions, but the right questions as they really make me think and provide high value to those in attendance. Now to answer the question that is the title of my email, “What can we learn from 2018 that will give us a head start in 2019?”
- Distributed Logistics- Customer deliveries have had two alternatives: Fast and expensive or slow and inexpensive. Unfortunately, what is needed is Fast and Inexpensive. Until now, this was not possible for any expect for the top few eCommerce companies. But now, via a network of automated, multi-tenant facilities- Distributed Logistics can make FAST AND INEXPENSIVE deliveries.
- Inventory Flow: Many of you thought while reading point 1 on Distributed Logistics: “Yes, great on Delivery Costs, but how about the increase in inventory storage?” Great question as we all have known that the more storage locations, the more safety stock that is required. But, what if we do not allocate inventory storage, but rather allocate inventory flow. You ask how? Well in 4 letters- DIFF. DIFF stands for Distributed Inventory Flow Forecasting. An Artificial Intelligent, Machine Learning Forecasting tool that allows us to only allocate the inventory by SKU to locations that are needed, and thus not increasing inventory storage, with the proper flow of inventory.
- New Retail: It is no longer about Bricks VS. Clicks, but rather Bricks AND Clicks. It is no longer about CPG VS. Retailers it is about CPG being Retailers and Retailers being CPG. It is not about company leadership being Store advocates VS. eCommerce advocates it is about leadership being advocates of satisfying consumer needs. It is not about B2B vs. B2C, it is about B2ME.
- Uncertainty: 2018 was not about trying to control uncertainty, but rather about grasping the reality of uncertainty. The reality of uncertainty going forward is realizing that digital disruptions are never ending and all projections of future volumes are wrong. Solutions must be adaptable, agile, flexible, and modular. Any solution that does not have the ability to change with the times is not a solution.
- Speed of Implementation: Given point 4 on uncertainty, the requirement of Speed of Implementation must be achieved. The start of a new fulfillment Center is not measured in years or months, but weeks. And I am not talking here about implementing manual operations and non-integrated IT. The requirement for 2019 and going forward is an automated and fully enabled IT suite (OMS, DOM, WMS, TMS) in less than 8 weeks, and often as short as 5 weeks.
The interesting thing about these five points is that all five are components of MonarchFx. Consider:
- MonarchFx is Distributed Logistics.
- MonarchFx is the first enterprise level user of DIFF.
- MonarchFx is applicable to wholesale, case and each retail stocking and replenishment, buy online pick up in store, buy online deliver from store, buy online DTC, etc. MonarchFx is applicable to all of New Retail.
- MonarchFx contracts are typically, no capital, one year contacts offering maximum adaptability to rapidly changing requirements.
- MonarchFx can be implemented very quickly as the MonarchFx model is “Build it and implement it on demand”.
As 2018 is coming to a close, I wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to chatting with you about 2019 and jump starting your year.
James A. Tompkins, Ph.D.
CEO, Tompkins International