Blog Posts Preparing Fulfillment Operations for Rapid Rise in Ecommerce


The coronavirus pandemic has prompted an explosion in ecommerce. In May, for example, total online spending was up 77 percent year-over-year, according to a report from Adobe. And the trend toward elevated ecommerce sales may become permanent, experts say.

How is the rapid growth of online order volume impacting retailers? In an interview with Internet Retailer, Perry Belcastro, Saddle Creek’s senior vice president of fulfillment services, discusses the associated challenges and offers his perspective on how retailers can best navigate the new retail landscape.

Following is an excerpt from the Q&A…

Fulfillment Strategies to Navigate the New “Normal”

What are the biggest fulfillment and delivery challenges retailers face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis?

Record sales volume and unpredictable demand have forced retail fulfillment operations into overdrive. There’s a much greater need for scalable space and staffing, especially for more labor-intensive ecommerce orders. Parcel shipment volume also has risen exponentially.

The need for more aggressive safety precautions adds to the complexity of operations. Social distancing and other coronavirus prevention efforts can impact overall productivity and add costs for reconfiguring shared spaces such as break areas, restrooms and offices.

Specifically, what strategies can they implement to address fulfillment and delivery challenges?

With many retailers adding or expanding ecommerce channels, it is important to shore up fulfillment operations to support greater online order volume. Scaling to satisfy immediate needs for labor and space has been a priority in the short term. Retailers also should monitor the capabilities of their parcel carriers and adjust to pockets of service disruption as needed.

The longer-term focus might shift to look at strategies for optimizing distribution network configuration, improving inventory management and upgrading technology.

To learn what retailers can do to strengthen their fulfillment and delivery operations, read the full article on page 6 in the June issue of Internet Retailer.