The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel: 2-Day Delivery

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 #1: 2-Day delivery.  

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

Capability #1: 2-Day Delivery

Staying competitive in today’s eCommerce landscape is easy! From the moment when the customer clicks ‘Order’, you just need to be prepared to cover potentially hundreds of miles to deliver your products to their doorstep … in under 48 hours. Tick-tock!

2-day delivery has become the standard in eCommerce delivery, with major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and just about any business that wants to stay competitive all offering next-day delivery.

While the concept is simple, implementing 2-day delivery for your far-reaching customer base can be a huge undertaking. Not to mention, failing to meet this promise could result in irreparable damage to your credibility and brand.

So how can your business offer 2-day shipping? And what about sustainability?

Against the wishes of many environmentalists, the demand for speed and convenience has sky-rocketed during the COVID pandemic, with sustainability getting pushed to the wayside for more carbon-heavy transportations like air freight. 

But will these carriers eventually have to pay the piper for their environmental footprint, and are there more sustainable options when it comes to 2-day shipping. Let’s dive in.

How Do Carriers Offer 2-Day Delivery?

Let’s first demystify what happens from the moment you click “Buy Now” until the package hits your doorstep.

First, your order information hits an order management system, which automatically transfers data to the appropriate fulfillment center based on inventory levels, warehouse capacity, cost and distance.

Next, a warehouse worker will be assigned to the order, with explicit instructions on how to pick the items, pack them in a box, and label the package correctly. The standard for getting this process completed is typically 24 hours.

From there, the order management system calculates the best shipping method based on carrier availability and cost. Depending on distance from the fulfillment center, the carrier will be air or ground freight. These are typically cargo planes or eighteen-wheeler trucks.

Once delivered to the closest distribution center, the package enters ‘last mile delivery’. Based on your address and the orders of your fellow consumers, the optimal route is calculated for delivery speed performance, and in rare cases, based on energy efficiency. 

Finally, once those cute little delivery trucks arrive at your address, the mail carrier huffs it up your front steps and drops your package at your door. All the while, customers have been given access to real-time updates and tracking information so they can be with their package virtually every step of the way.

Phew, k you do that now. The eCommerce giants are able to offset the massive costs of offering free 2-day delivery in order to jockey for market position and win more customers, and sustainability is always an afterthought. 

Through proper planning and partnering with the right fulfillment provider, your business can offer affordable and sustainable 2-day shipping to compete with the eCommerce elites. How? So glad you asked!

Your Guide to Affordable 2-Day Delivery

Ultimately, keeping 2-day delivery costs low while minimizing your carbon footprint comes down to the successful implementation of the following capabilities:

  • Distributed Fulfillment
  • Streamlined Pick-Pack-Ship
  • Ground Priority

Distributed Fulfillment means intelligently bringing inventory closer to your customers through a distributed network of fulfillment centers placed around the country and/or globe. With the right Inventory Management System, you can forecast where your orders will come from and intelligently distribute your inventory accordingly.

With this in place, you can minimize the distance in which your products must travel, which reduces delivery times and gives you more flexibility in shipping options.  

Streamlined Pick-Pack-Ship means not a second goes to waste when orders are sent to your warehouse. Full-service Warehouse Management Systems guide warehouse workers through every step of the process to eliminate human error and expedite getting packages out the door.

Ground Priority is achieved when your inventory is properly located and your warehouse operations run smoothly, so that you can offer more affordable and sustainable ground shipping every time, as opposed to resorting to costly and carbon-intensive air freight.

Wrap It Up

Does your business have the right tools in place to offer affordable and sustainable 2-day delivery? If not, then you may find it hard to compete in the future, especially as more and more people elect for eco-friendly businesses with the same suite of capabilities. 

If you’re already working with a fulfillment provider or 3PL, make sure that they’re well-equipped for the task. If not, maybe it’s time for a switch.

Our customers love that ShipHero can offer 2-day ground delivery anywhere in the contiguous United States at simple and transparent pricing. We attribute this success on the Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to Capability #1: 2-Day Delivery.

Stay tuned next as we cover Capability #2: Data Now! It’s my data, and I need it now! ShipHero.

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