Take a step back to appreciate the ever-unfolding drama of Walmart versus Amazon. For example, in the latest volley, Walmart plans floating warehouses in the sky. According to PYMNTS, the retailer filed patents for a system that uses zeppelins as warehouses and drones for the last mile.
Its plans mirror Amazon’s patent for a similar delivery system reported in 2016. They’re both Ambitious, and moreover, equally difficult to imagine getting off the ground. However, it underscores the serious competitive role that perfect order fulfillment plays in the modern multichannel environment.
Perfect Fulfillment in the Clash of the Titans
In the battle for eCommerce customers, perfect fulfillment emerges as a central theme for both Amazon and Walmart.
Supply chain experts traditionally define perfect fulfillment as a percentage of orders delivered to the right place and in the right quantity. Not only that, it’s delivery at the right time. This includes fast delivery, but may also mean delivery when and where the customer chooses.
They want to give their customers what they want when they want it, even when means right now. Walmart’s patent would not only make faster delivery possible but would also lower fulfillment costs and expand its distribution footprint.
Amazon’s fast delivery options, product selection and distribution network prompted Walmart’s strategy. This includes heavy investment in Walmart.com, discounts on click-and-collect orders, last-mile store delivery, and now, perhaps, the floating warehouse.
All Businesses Should Aim for Perfect Fulfillment
All businesses, regardless of their size, should aim for perfect fulfillment to stay competitive. This means establishing supply chains that respond to customer demand. They may want to buy online and collect in a store, or purchase online for home delivery. Sometimes, they’ll want the order delivered fast, while other times, they will shop around. Fortunately, most multichannel and eCommerce businesses won’t need to invest a lot of capital in logistics and distribution as the retail giants do. They can outsource warehousing to 3PLs and find the best courier deals through shipping solutions. Finally, they can process orders and track stock levels for multiple channels in a centralized, highly integrated inventory management solution built for the modern commercial landscape.
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