The Omni Channel Advantage: A deeper dive into order streaming
Adam Kline- Manhattan Associates
To deal with growing e-commerce demand, many companies have been forced to increase investment in labor, equipment and new distribution centers. But it has become clear that none of those strategies are sustainable long term, either from a cost or growth standpoint.
In our last blog we started to discuss Order Streaming, a form of waveless fulfillment designed to support smaller, more frequent, more urgent orders. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into how Order Streaming technology functions and specific use cases – in e-commerce and beyond – where it makes sense to go waveless.
How does order streaming work?
When a WMS has Order Streaming capabilities, the availability of warehouse assets is what determines when and where work is assigned. How? The software uses a combination of cutting-edge optimization engines and state-of-the-art prediction models to constantly learn and adapt based on the current
and expected state of the DC.
Order Streaming has four key functions: prioritizing orders; allocating inventory to orders and creating automatic replenishments; determining work paths and resource types; reprioritizing and releasing work as capacity becomes available.
As a result of these simultaneous functions, Order Streaming constantly evaluates and adjusts to utilize assets most effectively and efficiently. That flexibility ensures your operation maximizes throughput and increases service levels – without unnecessary human intervention. The result is fewer expedited orders, more satisfied customers and, lower overall costs.
The many uses of order streaming
The most obvious application for Order Streaming is e-commerce fulfillment. Without late-stage reprioritization and just-in-time release of work, Individual consumer orders – coupled with requirements like next-day shipping and same-day shipping – are virtually impossible to fulfill cost-effectively.
E-commerce isn’t the only area in which Order Streaming can be beneficial. Wholesalers can use it to ship to smaller retailers whose demand varies. It can be used to drop ship direct from manufacturers. Pharmaceutical providers can quickly fulfill perishable orders. And, healthcare systems can take fast delivery of items essential for patient care.
In short, anything that has a time-sensitive nature or unpredictable demand, where shipping can’t be done proactively, is ideal for waveless fulfillment.
An essential technology for a growing need
The rise of omnichannel purchasing led to the creation of Order Streaming. It’s the most effective way to fulfill e-commerce orders efficiently and profitably. In the years to come, omnichannel shopping is expected to expand exponentially and the need for agile, time-sensitive fulfillment will grow along with it. That means a WMS with Order Streaming capabilities isn’t just going to be an advantage for you, it’s going to be essential. Companies are being challenged to integrate this technology into their existing processes.
But does that mean the end of the wave? In one word: no. In the next blog, we’ll discuss how bringing wave and waveless fulfillment together under the same roof can give you the best of both worlds.