<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5222936&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;">

Why Cognitive is Critical in Omnichannel Order Management

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Jul 18, 2018

For retailers as well as B2B companies, order fulfillment plays a major role in both customer satisfaction and profitability. Customers expect flawless, fast order fulfillment across all channels.  While customer-centric companies work hard to meet these expectations, it can be very expensive to do so.

As customers purchase from your company across multiple channels—via the Web, mobile apps, kiosks, marketplaces, retail locations, and even catalog and telephone orders—you’ll want capabilities like centralized order orchestration, ship from store, drop ship, and real-time inventory visibility. These order management capabilities work together to meet customers’ expectations seamless, fast and error-free order fulfillment.

However, these capabilities alone don’t ensure companies can do so profitably.  In fact, while many CEOs have identified omnichannel commerce as a top priority, the IBM Consumer Expectations Study found that it could cost up to three times more to serve omnichannel customers.

Every channel adds complexity to the order fulfillment process. In addition, there’s pressure from customers and competitors to same-day or two-day shipping, making it even more critical to leverage modern technologies to fulfill orders in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible. In fact, the IBM study found that 72 percent of consumersconsider two-day or less shipping as a factor when making a purchase.

On top of using an omnichannel order management system, companies are now adopting solutions that can apply human reasoning and cognitive capabilities to order fulfillment. As a result, they’re able to meet or exceed customer expectations while reducing their fulfillment costs. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading

5 Ways Cognitive Technologies can Optimize Your B2B Network

By Lori Angalich | Thu, May 31, 2018

If you aren’t already leveraging cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) in your business network, you may be missing out on critical supply chain improvements.

Cognitive and AI systems use natural language processing and machine learning to understand, reason, learn about and analyze all types of data. Also, they can interact with users in a more natural, conversational manner.

For B2B networks and supply chains, these capabilities can be leveraged for a wide variety of improvements including:

  • Providing greater visibility and insight—from high level to granular detail
  • Enabling split-second decision making based on the best data available
  • Increasing awareness of critical issues
  • Suggesting the best courses of action 
  • Fostering collaboration among departments and partners

With these capabilities like these, you can plan for (or avoid) disruptions, proactively handle potential issues with suppliers, and ensure you can meet or exceed customer expectations (among many other benefits). Let’s take a closer look at some of the AI and cognitive capabilities available for B2B operations and supply chains today.

Continue reading

3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Improves Omnichannel Order Fulfillment

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Mar 21, 2018

Omnichannel commerce brings new challenges to order fulfillment. Think of all the channels your customers use to shopyour website, online marketplaces, stores, paging through a catalog, or calling your contact center.

Add in all your inventory locations—including DCs, warehouses, fulfillment partners, and retail locationsand you may run into difficulty fulfilling orders as flawlessly as customers expect. All the order touchpoints such as point-of-sale systems, contact centers, and e-commerce platforms need to sync with your order, inventory, warehouse, shipping, and reporting systems. Otherwise, orders may need to be canceled or delayed, which affects customer loyalty and chips away at profitability.

Flexibility is key when it comes to omnichannel order fulfillment and order management systems that enable it. Static business rules—such as a customer located in California should receive products from the nearest fulfillment center in Arizona— no longer makes sense when inventory is sourced from retail locations as well.  Now, you also need to consider the store inventory, as well as the demand for a product in that geographic area.

That same customer, located in Northern California, orders a popular product online that sells out quickly in the retail store in his area. Instead of shipping from the store in his area that has low inventory (and risking losing an in-store sale as a result of being out of stock), artificial intelligence can determine that it’s better to ship the product from a store in an area that isn’t experiencing the same level of demand.

Sound confusing? It can be. But this is the next generation of order management and fulfillment, which uses artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities to determine the best source for items and ship them in the most profitable way possible. These capabilities can transform the way orders are fulfilledreducing costs and increasing profitability, while ensuring customers are happy. Here are a few examples of how this works.

Continue reading

How Artificial Intelligence Can Transform Supply Chains

By Lori Angalich | Mon, Mar 19, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the province of science fiction: it’s here, and it can be leveraged by your supply chain to transform the way your company sources materials and delivers finished products.

For many companies, AI and cognitive computing are becoming necessities in their supply chain operations, as these capabilities can help them overcome significant barriers to success.

First, we collect a plethora of data in our supply chains, but often, we miss important opportunities for cost savings and efficiency because we aren’t using that data effectively. 

Additionally, artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities in the supply chain become even more important as Baby Boomers—with their wealth of supply chain knowledge retire. The new Millennial workforce is packed with tech-savvy workers, but they often do not have the supply chain experience of their senior counterparts, nor do they tend to stay in one position for decades, as previous generations did. 

Globalization also presents new challenges to the supply chain. As companies continue to grow, they generate and collect even more data, implement more policies and processes, and add many new employees, suppliers, customers, and locations. Consequently, they struggle with analyzing all of this data, bringing new supply chain employees up to speed on policies and best practices, deciding what actions to take when issues arise, and getting relevant insights into the right hands at the right time. 

While AI and cognitive capabilities can help companies overcome these challenges and many others, they can also help companies improveeven transformtheir supply chains. Let's explore how. 

Continue reading
COMMENTS