As one of the only vendors providing a sophisticated solution for omnichannel fulfillment, HighJump is experiencing the spike in attention they deserve.
About HighJump Software
HighJump finds themselves in the forefront of supply chain optimization providers as they develop their own solutions and assist companies in implementing the organizational change management required to be successful.
The dedicated supply chain solutions in Highjump software have been implemented and trusted for over 30 years by roughly 14,500 customers operating in 79 countries globally. Throughout their tenure, HighJump has received many awards and recognitions for being the best in Supply & Demand and Inbound Logistics. They were also mentioned on a list of America’s Most Promising Companies by Forbes in 2015.
These accolades stand as a testament to the success HighJump has experienced from bringing their expertise to customers to successfully align people, processes, and technology to solve the challenges of operating in an omnichannel supply chain environment.
Challenges of Omnichannel Fulfillment
There are many emerging challenges when facing today’s goal of omnichannel fulfillment. Many of these challenges stem from the advancement of technology, which allows more avenues or channels to be created. With more channels come numerous challenges, as each channel warrants different customer expectations.
Companies operating across multiple channels need to find a way to consistently execute their strategy to support a single brand experience. This requires the company to analyze customer expectations for each channel and then refine their supply chain strategy to align with these expectations.
Some channels that exist today include brick-and-mortar, eCommerce, kiosks, radio, television, call centers, social media, and many more that are still emerging.
Another challenge to omnichannel fulfillment is being able to intersect with the right buyer at the right time, in the right manner, every time the opportunity arises. The connected customer can have varying consumer attributes, which makes this alignment a challenge, especially when operating across multiple channels.
As stated previously, companies looking to be successful in omnichannel fulfillment must analyze their customer to understand their expectations – this will allow them to plan accordingly to meet or potentially exceed customer expectations.
Today’s consumers are progressively more demanding in their expectations in terms of convenience and experience. To be successful, each interaction with the customer must be error-free, consistent, and predictable.
This pressure is further amplified as consumers are becoming less and less brand-loyal. This is in part because there are many more competitors providing similar products.
Supply chains are under pressure not only from the consumer point of view, but also from the organization side. Oftentimes companies will realize their supply chain strategy has fallen behind, but they don’t realize just how far behind.
Supply chain strategies can lag due to companies implementing the wrong people or by holding onto outdated processes, thus creating an inability to meet customer expectations. Companies will then look to select a new system to make up for these gaps in their strategy, but a lot of times this is not enough.
Certain systems cannot adapt to the new world and customer expectations, which is why companies need to change their mentality towards developing a total solution where technology is just one piece of the contributing solution. Companies need to take a step back and re-evaluate who, what, why, and how to be successful.
HighJump software excels in matching your company with the right people, processes, and technologies to address the functional gaps to help your company become successful in omnichannel fulfillment.
Systems for Conquering Multi-Channel Operations
HighJump software has assisted many companies in tackling the various challenges of omnichannel fulfillment by utilizing several supply chain management software systems and tools. Some of these customer-facing systems and tools include Push and Pull Forecasting, Supplier Enablement, and eCommerce solutions.
In addition to customer-facing tools, HighJump deploys distribution-facing systems and tools including Transportation Planning and Execution, Distribution Order Management, Shipping Execution, and many others. These tools combined with HighJump’s extensive supply chain optimization expertise allows them to successfully assist companies in conquering multi-channel operations.
To optimize your supply chain, HighJump advocates having a supply center, manufacturing center, and distribution center in proximity to customer locations, as this will mitigate transportation time and cost. This will allow you to better meet customer expectations while keeping costs down for yourself.
Another key component to conquering omnichannel fulfillment challenges is to utilize dynamic, real-time, pull-type forecasting. Media channels can create significant pull product data allowing your company to react faster to meet customer expectations, which is paramount for success.
The act of taking these forecasting plans and turning them into something to be executed on by your supplier is called Supplier Enablement. This process allows your company to leverage web-based, deployable technology to enable partners to be more effective in servicing your Procure to Pay process.
Lastly, on the customer interface side of supply chain optimization, HighJump recommends deploying a systems-agnostic eCommerce platform to enable a consistent customer interface, which will allow customers to buy however and whenever they are ready to do so.
On the distribution interface side of supply chain optimization, there are just as many tools and systems HighJump software deploys to ensure success. One key tool for success is to optimize your company’s inbound transportation planning and execution.
This takes the supplier ready-to-ship information and transforms it into a transportation plan that gets you the product at the right time and at the lowest cost by leveraging different modes of transportation and various carriers.
As mentioned previously, a supply chain best practice is to have multiple locations to store, produce, and ship goods, but this can cause some confusion as to which location should fulfill a certain customer order.
This problem is solved by utilizing Distributed Order Management, which allows your company to systematically decide which location is the best to source the order to ensure you will meet customer needs and keep transportation costs down.
These tools paired with a distribution Warehouse Management Software (WMS) can provide the organization with the potential to grow through warehouse efficiency and allow your company to be more equipped to face the challenges of omnichannel fulfillment.
However, these systems are not a complete solution to solving the challenges of omnichannel fulfillment in its entirety.
Approaches to Overhauling Supply Chain
There are various approaches to overhauling and maintaining your readiness to adapt to new channels and challenges. Companies that face these supply chain challenges can often be categorized by how they approach the challenge and change.
There are reactive strategies, where a company realizes the new technologies and channels available and try to “catch up” with the times, and then there are proactive strategies, where a company actively seeks ways to optimize and enhance their supply chain, and ultimately their business.
Companies that utilize a reactive strategy are typically organizations that have been selling through one channel for quite some time and are reluctant to change. As new technology comes to the forefront and there are more channels to sell through, these reactive companies tend to pursue these new channels to protect revenues, rather than as an opportunity for growth.
This puts the company on the defensive side of things, leading them to passively dedicate the appropriate resources to manage the change. These companies tend to see technology as a savior and do not truly innovate their core business processes. Instead, they tend to believe that once the software is in place, everything else will fall in line.
This mentality can create gaps in the service-level commitment to the customer as the new systems alone cannot make the necessary core business process changes required to meet new customer expectations.
The companies that utilize a proactive strategy tend to find greater success when facing the challenges of the ever-changing omnichannel fulfillment. These companies are typically less asset-based and view the omnichannel as an opportunity to enhance their business.
These companies realize society has changed the way business is conducted, and are eager to build a detailed strategic plan to proactively manage change. These strategic plans align people, processes, and technology to the strategy to get on the offensive side of change and set the pace.
Successful companies view technology as a part of the strategy that supports overall corporate goals, and when paired with effective execution and planning, the solution is ready for future challenges.
Real-World Testimonies & Conclusion
Successful omnichannel fulfillment is difficult and ever-changing, but through the assistance of HighJump software and the proven supply chain optimization tools and techniques, your company can find success.
HighJump has provided us with many real-world examples from their customers who have found success when utilizing HighJump software and their supply chain optimization tools. These customers have found success by increasing throughput by reducing dock-to-stock, and by re-engineering processes to utilize the same physical footprint.
Another customer achieved success by investing in a new solution specifically in the area of Supplier Enablement. This solution allowed them to create “invisible” partners, which is a supply network that can organically support distribution operations and make it seem like your company is the originator of the product, shipment, invoice, etc.
Utilizing invisible partners allowed this company to exceed customer expectations by having everything streamlined and appear that the product was from a single online retailer, even though the product was fulfilled and shipped via third party.
These companies have also obtained success when battling shifting customer expectations and difficulties associated with managing supply chain operations within an omnichannel environment. Most often this success was realized by being proactive in their approach, reviewing current challenges, and by setting a realistic and attainable strategy in place.
They utilized HighJump software and resources, as well as various supply chain optimization solutions to provide a consistent customer experience across all of the channels. These solutions were effective because the strategy aligned people, processes, and technology to address current state issues and drive to a future state vision of success.
To learn more about HighJump and their omnichannel supply chain offerings, visit their website here.