Delivery windows have always been a point of contention for retailers, but with customer expectations becoming more and more stringent, and Amazon winning the efficiency game, retailers find themselves needing to adjust.
Walmart announced it is adding more pressure on suppliers to make scheduled deliveries on time with their On-Time, In-Full program. With this program, deliveries must be made on-time and in-full 95% of the time. Any missing, late, or early items over a period of one-month incur a fine of 3% of their total value.
The new set of Walmart delivery rules, which goes into effect in August, is among the most strict in a recent trend of retailers tightening delivery windows for suppliers. Walmart has the largest distribution network in the brick and mortar retail space, so suppliers have no choice but to play ball. Essentially, this means that shippers and carriers will need to increase their supply chain efficiency to avoid racking up fines or falling out of favor with major retailers.
Hitting Walmart Delivery Windows Requires Automation
Rules like this not only fine suppliers for late or incomplete deliveries, they also get fined if they’re early. What used to be a 5-12 day delivery window is now down to a single day. The only way to consistently hit a delivery window that small, is by using automation technology that allows for real-time supply chain visibility.
In the past, legacy technologies like EDI have caused massive latency in supply chain visibility. Tracking shipments with EDI’s outdated and inaccurate data causes missed pickups as well as breakdowns in communication between suppliers, carriers, and retailers. Companies could survive these mistakes when delivery windows were larger and more forgiving, but that time is swiftly coming to an end. EDI is costing shippers more money than ever before, and it’s only going to get worse from here.
Adopting automation and real-time visibility technology like API’s will provide every aspect of the supply chain with real-time data. The entire process from quote to invoice is faster and more efficient. No more missed pick-ups, full visibility throughout the shipment lifecycle, and most importantly, the ability to consistently hit delivery windows on-time and in-full.