In this Q&A article, Bob Goodliffe, CEO of J.W. Goodliffe & Son Inc. and Cyberweld.com, comments on the trends and challenges in online fulfillment amid COVID-19 and how his company is navigating them.
Cyberweld.com is a $40 million online distributor of welding and safety equipment. Cyberweld operates its own fulfillment centers in New Jersey and Arizona and currently carries $2.5 million in on-hand inventory. The company handles an average of 400 orders per day with a total administrative, customer support and fulfillment staff of only 21 employees nationwide. After being an online business for more than 20 years, Goodliffe still personally manages the purchasing and webmaster functions for the organization.
Goodliffe is participating in the panel “Focus on Fulfillment: From the Distribution Center to the Doorstep, How Retailers are Delivering the Goods” at the May 20 online event, “Leading the Ecommerce Charge” hosted by Digital Commerce 360.
Digital Commerce 360: What has been your main headache with fulfillment over the past year and how have you aimed to solve it?
Goodliffe: The main headache for fulfillment has been vendor delays in getting product to us. Initially, demand for COVID-19-related safety products emptied the pipeline. Government seizure of certain inventories didn’t help either. As the pandemic wore on, other product shortages began to show up across all channels. These were caused by diminished manufacturing workforce and freight capacities due to localized COVID-19 outbreaks, delays at the ports due to lack of workers, lack of containers and lack of freight carriers. All these factors have completely blown up our procurement processes and lead times. We have attempted to solve this by quickly pivoting to shorter buying cycles and larger purchase quantities. This has been met with limited success as lead times continue to lengthen.
Digital Commerce 360: Are there any technologies that have been especially helpful to aid you with fulfillment or supply chain management? What are they and how did they help?
Goodliffe: Our enterprise retail planning system is Retail Ops. We’ve been on this distribution platform for four-and-a-half years. It is extremely flexible with purchasing and changing warehouse conditions, so it has helped us stay flexible with such fluid conditions.
Digital Commerce 360: What is one tip you would offer retailers in regards to managing fulfillment in these chaotic times?
Goodliffe: In times of chaos, quality always wins. We exclusively use FedEx Corp. for incoming and outgoing freight shipments and have done so for over a decade. During COVID-19, when others could not get deliveries, we did. When Texas froze and some were without freight for weeks, we were one of the first to have our deliveries resumed. Those who fail to compute the real cost of shipping (freight costs, damage costs, return costs, delay costs, customer satisfaction costs) will fail.
Leading the 2021 Ecommerce Charge is the first of six livestreamed half-day events from Digital Commerce 360 this year. The event is designed to pack as much ecommerce analysis, data and revenue-generating ideas into four fast-paced hours as possible. This first-of-its-kind interactive experience will premiere on Thursday, May 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. CST and feature research and data not yet released to the public, tactical advice on how to better manage digital operations and ecommerce trend predictions. It also will incorporate the real-life experiences of retailers into each conversation. Attendees will learn new strategies to quickly and creatively drive revenue in 2021 and beyond.
Secure your spot and get a first look at our ecommerce research and data and leave with the tools you need to drive revenue and work smarter in 2021 and beyond. Learn More.Favorite