Getting associate buy-in on a new tech initiative is crucial for any retailer, and United’s partnership with Onfleet ended up being an easy selling point, says Farr. In addition to helping drivers plan their routes and days, the technology also aids them in determining the best way to load their trucks.
Receiving this visibility into their capacity in turn translates into greater confidence on drivers’ ability to manage the volume, and the real-time analytics have enabled the grocer to increase the number of orders it can fulfill based on both time efficiency and capacity by 50%.
Incorporating data and analytics into a fulfillment strategy is crucial in today’s retail environment, Farr notes, and having that backbone data in there to make informed decisions is important given the added expense into each delivery, enabling retailers to have visibility into their cost per delivery.
Usability has been key to implementation success, he said. “As we scale, the more stores we have, the more teams we have, the more guests that use the platform. Being able to train hundreds of team members on how to use something [in Onfleet], or numerous stores on how to scale something up, has become even more apparent here lately.”
For other retailers looking to scale their e-commerce fulfillment strategies, Farr advises not to sell themselves short on what can be accomplished. The once-cautious company has now become very aggressive over the last six months in how quickly it can turn around in order.
“At times we tend to be a little too cautious on thinking outside the box,” he says. “This is definitely an industry that's changing at a very rapid rate. … Just keeping an open mindset [is important] because expectations we think we’re going to see tend to be well beyond that — in a good way.”