OCTOBER 26, 2018
PENDLETON, SC — Did you go online to order your Halloween costume this year? If so, chances are good that your online order was shipped to your doorsteps with the aid of technology developed here in the Upstate.
FastFetch Corporation, located in Pendleton, SC, makes eCommerce order fulfillment technologies used by several well-known companies across the US to handle online orders efficiently so your orders are delivered quickly and accurately.
One of FastFetch’s customers is BuySeasons, a major eCommerce distributor of Halloween costumes located in New Berlin, WI. BuySeasons uses technology developed by FastFetch to handle costume orders placed online at Amazon, Target, Walmart, and JCPenny. FastFetch’s technology enables online companies like BuySeasons to quickly locate and retrieve products from their distribution center so they can be delivered promptly to your front door.
As explained by Jack Peck, Co-Founder and President of FastFetch, “Our technologies are hidden from online shoppers, but they are critical elements of eCommerce that enable companies to deliver products quickly and accurately.”
When customers go online at Amazon, Target, Walmart, and JCPenny and place orders for costumes, many of those orders are fulfilled by BuySeasons. Order information is sent electronically to BuySeasons. As orders are received, BuySeasons retrieves the required products from the distribution center and ships them to the customer.
BuySeasons stocks about 20,000 different products in a 300,000-square-foot distribution center. During their busy season, BuySeasons ships as many as 60,000 orders a day.
Video Clip 1: Costumes Stored in the Distribution Center
[Note: This video clip shows how products are stored in a distribution center. Multiple identical products are stored in bins positioned on large racks. Finding the products ordered and getting the right quantity of products packaged for shipping can be a challenge in a 300,000-square-foot distribution center containing 20,000 products. Viewing this clip of products stored in the distribution center makes it clear that technology is needed to streamline the process of order fulfillment.]
Costumes available for purchase by online shoppers are stored within the distribution center. Each item is stored in a specific location known to the computer system that manages the facility.
To fulfill orders, items have to be retrieved from storage and placed into an appropriate package for shipment to the customer. Items needed for customer orders are retrieved from the distribution center by human workers called “pickers.” Handling 60,000 orders a day requires highly efficient processes within the distribution center.
Video Clip 2: Picker Using FastFetch Technology
[Note: The FastFetch technology includes spoken voice, numerical displays, flashing lights, barcode scanning, and controlling software for a tablet PC attached to each cart. Here, a picker is using a cart equipped with FastFetch technology to retrieve costumes that have been ordered by online shoppers. This clip provides a glimpse into how the FastFetch technology works. Simply speaking, the FastFetch technology takes the guesswork out of the order picking process.]
FastFetch’s technology enables BuySeasons to retrieve products for customer orders quickly and accurately. Pickers retrieve products by pushing their cart to product locations, selecting the required quantity of the indicated products, and placing the picked items into specific partitions on the cart.
Voice — in any language — guides pickers to the location for the next pick. Upon arriving at the indicated location, the barcode on the storage location is scanned to verify that the correct product has been identified.
At this point, the system speaks the desired quantity of the item that is to be picked. At the same time, the system flashes a light on one or more numerical displays on the cart to highlight where the picked items are to be placed. The picker confirms placement of items into cart locations by placing a hand or perhaps the picked product in close proximity to the flashing light.
FastFetch makes picking highly efficient because multiple customer orders are retrieved on a single strip through the picking area. In addition, FastFetch employs artificial intelligence to assign orders to carts in a way that minimizes the total travel required to fulfill orders.
Video Clip 3: Several Pickers Using FastFetch Technology
[Note: This clip shows three pickers working independently to fulfill orders. A visitor to the distribution center would see up to 60 pickers working simultaneously in various stages of order picking.]
Multiple pickers work simultaneously without interfering with each other. During their busiest period in the weeks leading up to Halloween, BuySeasons hires numerous temporary workers who are trained quickly to become proficient at picking.
Presently, BuySeasons has up to 60 pickers working simultaneously to fulfill customer orders. The use of FastFetch’s order fulfillment technology enables BuySeasons to increase or decrease the number of pickers as needed to accommodate the order volume on any given day.
Video Clip 4: Shipping Products From the Distribution Center
[Note: This is the final step in the distribution center before orders are shipped. This view is often one of the more exciting aspects of eCommerce order fulfillment.]
Finally, when all required quantities of products needed to fulfill the batch of orders assigned to a cart have been picked, the cart is pushed to the packing area. Here, products are removed from the carts, packaged for shipping, and placed on a conveyor to be transported to the shipping area.
This is what takes place as your order is departing the distribution center and headed for delivery at your front door.
FastFetch Corporation, located in Pendleton, SC, develops hardware and software products for distribution, logistics, and manufacturing industries. The company was founded in 2006 and provides technologies for eCommerce order fulfillment, store replenishment, returns processing, and kitting and sequencing for manufacturing assembly lines. FastFetch holds several US and international patents on its technologies and has been recognized by such prestigious professional organizations as MHI (one of 6 finalists for the ProMat Best Existing Product Innovation in 2015), CSCMP (one of 5 finalists for the 2018 Supply Chain Innovation of the Year Award), and Supply Chain Brain (named to the list of 100 Great Supply Chain Partners for 2018). For additional information, visit the FastFetch website (www.fastfetch.biz).