Delivery is more in-demand than ever. Customers want more orders, more quickly. Which means companies are working faster, too. But with the rise of one-click ordering, same-day fulfillment, and price wars between retailers—it can be hard to keep up with ‘I want it now’ expectations and the appetite for more delivery options.

Some companies are scaling their own distribution centers and bringing Chief Supply Officers onto their teams to handle this new tempo—even doubling physical stores as digital fulfillment centers or building micro-fulfillment centers in major cities. Others are outsourcing to third party distributors—though increasingly looking for options beyond the big industry players.

Luckily, new solutions are popping up as quickly as packages are popping up on peoples’ doorsteps. And we see IT as the key to keeping up. Here’s why.   


1- Digital value chain makes ‘pick and pack’ possible

The popular ‘Pick and Pack’ model requires workers to pack individual packages for customers and tends to save companies time and money. But it also requires hyper-coordination and inventory management—which a digitally integrated value chain can help achieve, both for smaller businesses and at larger scale.

‘On average, companies that aggressively digitize their supply chains can expect to boost annual growth of earnings before interest and taxes by 3.2 percent’ –McKinsey


2- Wireless makes real-time visibility a reality

Wireless is helping retailers provide more delivery options while gaining a broader view of their distribution and fulfillment operations, too. That’s partially thanks to RFID tags: small, wireless devices that, when running on the right network infrastructure, can seamlessly provide real-time location tracking. So, whether you ship yourself or through a third party, you can keep a constant eye on every order.

And with new 5G network deployments, the value chain will continue to be connected and improved through IoT technology.


3- Multi-cloud means more flexibility with any approach

Multi-cloud software gives you the ability to adapt to different supplier needs, changing data requirements, and shifting storage availability. All with uninterrupted connection and security.


4- Predictive analytics and planning tools can help you choose the right move

If you’re exploring different forms of fulfillment, predictive analytics and value chain planning tools can help you make decisions based on changing demands, inventory, tariffs, and more. But to get that data, you’ll need to have the digital infrastructure and platforms in place.


5- The right technologies let you connect directly to the consumer

With more digital tools designed for fast, thorough supply chain management, you can move beyond traditional solutions. Many companies are using these new abilities to help move towards a direct-to-consumer model that gives them more control over their business and their bottom line.


To learn more about how Cisco is enabling retailers to pursue more distribution and fulfillment opportunities, check out our new white paper


Nicki Vereschagin

Global Retail Marketing Content Strategist

Global Industries Marketing