by Alister Danks and Robert E. Mann
Whether it's flowers or flannel you're selling over the
Internet - pay attention to the next online concept from Andersen
Consulting - it could mean the difference between your having a
dot-com business, or having it come to a full-stop
eFulfilment ranks right up there with other
electronic commerce strategies - product development, marketing,
and web-site design.
eFulfilment is the unique process of providing physical
products for e-commerce customers which includes activities such
as telemarketing operations, customer service, warehousing and
shipping, procurement and inventory management, processing and
disposition of returns.
Given that the majority of e-commerce businesses sell physical
products, it is a process which can't be ignored.
eFulfilment activities represent most of the tangible assets
of e-commerce companies. Essentially, it works much the same way
as the distribution operations of catalogue marketers. Basic
technologies and processes used by catalogue marketers work well
However, companies with experience in traditional one-to-one
shipping encounter subtle but significant differences as they
move into eFulfilment.
First, e-commerce customers expect speed and service
reliability that is above the level typically offered by
Second, customers expect inventory to be available and
order status to be visible and accurate.
Third, to obtain this level of performance, organisations
must integrate web-based customer systems with more
traditional order processing and warehouse management systems.
Fourth, the one constant in e-commerce is rapid change:
products, customers, markets, services can change overnight
and thus require different processes.
Challenges and assumptions