Blog Posts Logistics Nostalgia: The History of Order Fulfillment [Infographic]


This year, we celebrated 50 years of doing Whatever It Takes to make warehousing, transportation, and more, happen for our clients. All this nostalgia has us looking even further back over the history of the logistics and order fulfillment industries, which is why we’re excited to show off our new infographic: The History of Order Fulfillment .

Over Two Centuries in the Making

Today, order fulfillment is an omnichannel process that depends on a variety of technologies, a network of connected warehouse spaces and transportation options, and flexible strategies. It’s hard to imagine an industry this advanced being more than two hundred years old, but order fulfillment got its start in the mid-1800s.

1861    The first modern mail-order service is established in Newton, Wales.

1872    Montgomery Ward establishes a mail-order business in Chicago with no physical storefront.

1899    The first semi-truck, manufactured the year before, is sold in Cleveland, Ohio.

1910    Henry Ford standardizes assembly line practices.

1924    UPS builds the first conveyor belt system specifically for handling packages.

1955    Modern intermodalism is born: 600 containers travel by truck, train, and ship from North Vancouver to the Yukon.

1979    Michael Aldrich creates “teleshopping” in Great Britain.

1994    The first secure, retail transaction takes place over the web.

2010    Supply Chain Management becomes an official profession in the U.S.

2015    Diamler unveils a partially-autonomous semi-truck that drives itself on highway roads.

Looking Forward to the Future of Order Fulfillment

With 50 years of experience, Saddle Creek has grown quite a bit, along with our industry. We’re as excited about the future of logistics and order fulfillment as we are inspired by the past.

Our fleet of CNG trucks, for example, is leading the way in the effort to bring greater environmental responsibility to the logistics and transportation industry. As ecommerce continues to expand industries and change markets, we’re looking forward to creating custom solutions to help clients respond to new trends like:

For more than two hundred years, order fulfillment has gotten faster and more responsive to user demands, and the momentum is still building. Download The History of Order Fulfillment  to see where the industry has come from, and make your own predictions about where it is going.