2021 > The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel: Distributed Fulfillment

ShipHero recently launched The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to help 3PLs understand what capabilities and service offerings they need to implement in order to be successful and to help online retailers and brands choose which 3PL is right for them by allowing them to ‘check the boxes’.

The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel listed a set of twelve (12) capabilities that fulfillment providers and logistics companies should implement to continually delight their customers and push themselves towards greater success and innovation.

The twelve capabilities are:

  1. 2-day delivery
  2. Same day shipping
  3. At the box personalization
  4. Designed for returns
  5. Sustainable fulfillment
  6. Resilient shipping
  7. Distributed fulfillment
  8. Data now
  9. Automation
  10. Scale up and out
  11. Integration stack
  12. Professional services

In this article, we will be diving into Capability #7: Distributed fulfillment.  

And be sure to stay tuned for future articles as we deep-dive into each capability.

Capability #7: Distributed Fulfillment

Quiz for the e-commerce gurus out there. Which of these two options makes more sense from a business standpoint: Deliver your products from nearby OR deliver your products from far away? Take your time, we all don’t have MBAs. 

Businesses who want to reduce delivery times and keep costs low will opt to deliver their products from a nearby location, but as an online business reachable by customers all over the United States, how is that possible? The solution: Distributed Fulfillment.

Distributed Fulfillment is the secret to how the e-commerce giants can deliver free 1-2 day shipping nationwide, and the concept is simple: intelligently bring inventory and fulfillment centers closer to your customers. 

The advantages of distributed fulfillment are:

Optimized Price and Delivery Speed

Reducing the distance between fulfillment centers and your customer’s doorstep leads to lower costs, faster delivery times, and reduced carbon emissions. This also allows your business to offer free shipping or guaranteed two-day shipping, which are huge online purchase drivers and pretty much the standard in today’s market.

Easy to Manage

With the right tools in place, managing your inventory is simple. Warehousing companies and fulfillment providers like ShipHero offer Warehouse Management Software (WMS) to give business owners complete oversight and control into their supply chain, so that they can make intelligent decisions on where to store their inventory and how to ship their product.

Reliable and Resilient Shipping

Don’t be at the mercy of mother nature or shipping bottlenecks from traditional carriers. Distributed fulfillment gives you a diversified and robust supply chain that you and your customers can rely on to ship, no matter the circumstance.

In-House vs. Outsourced

For all these reasons, e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart are successfully employing this logistics model for e-commerce fulfillment and retailers that piggyback off of their distributed fulfillment network seeing fantastic results.

For in-house fulfilment (i.e., creating a fulfillment network yourself), a high amount of initial capital is required to lease warehouse space across the country, distribute the inventory, then continuously monitor and optimize your inventory management and order fulfillment. 

Luckily for small to medium-sized businesses looking to compete, 3PLs and outsourced fulfillment providers like ShipHero are creating massive distributed fulfillment networks around the country, and are ready to deliver your e-commerce. 

Our customers love that ShipHero can easily offer 2-day shipping anywhere in the contiguous United States at simple and transparent pricing. We are also able to prioritize ground shipping, making for a resilient and eco-friendly supply chain. We attribute this success on the Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to Capability #7: Distributed Fulfillment.

Stay tuned next as we cover Capability #7: Resilient Shipping! Viva la Resilience. ShipHero.

Learn more about ShipHero’s industry-leading warehouse management software.