The U.S. online shopping world's biggest day is here, but will strong web sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving cut into Cyber Monday's take?
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IFloor, which had filed for bankruptcy under a former ownership before it was acquired by Mysymo in 2009, has since restructured its overall technology operations. It now operates on web-hosted software from NetSuite Inc., which handles the entire flow from accepting and processing e-commerce orders to managing fulfillment, inventory and financial records.
Now when orders come in from online customers, iFloor's system automatically routes them based on several business rules, such as level of available inventory and proximity to the customer, to the most appropriate warehouse. Instead of using several fulfillment employees to confirm inventory availability at multiple warehouses, iFloor now has two people who rely on the NetSuite platform to automatically pull updated information on inventory availability in distribution centers and electronically route orders to the most appropriate center or drop shipper for fulfillment. "We basically took all the steps that people used to do and programmed them into NetSuite," Altenhofen says.
The new system also offers other advantages to help iFloor improve customer service and warehouse efficiency, he adds. It provides constant reports, for example, that iFloor can pull hourly on such metrics as orders processed per hour, and how long it takes to turn over inventory in a distribution center. That lets the retailer see if it's meeting customer service goals, and improves planning on how to stock its warehouses. "It helps us decide whether we should stock more bamboo or laminate flooring," Altenhofer says, "so we can get the best use of our facilities."
As more retailers do the same, it will help the retail industry smooth the right flow of products from suppliers to consumers.