Keyword Terms and Definitions
A micro fulfillment center or MFC is an automated fulfillment center used by ecommerce businesses to store their inventory closer to the end consumer. Their structure size typically ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet, with some as small as 5,000 square feet. MFCs can be co-housed inside an existing retail store, or placed in a smaller warehouse space in an urban location.
Remote automated dispense (RAD) is a term favored by Walmart for their small format, automated dispense systems. They are located close to customers to solve the speed of delivery ‘last mile’ problem. They can contain three temperature zones and automatically dispense order to the customer when they arrive at a kiosk. Think convenient neighborhood ATM for your groceries. The RADS are fulfilled from MFC’s, Dark Stores or CFCs typically via van.
Novastore is an Alert Innovation term for a store architecture and associated supply chain logistics. The strict definition for Novastore is as follows: a supermarket with an automated packaged-goods market (a.k.a. “center store”) and an optional self-service fresh-goods market (a.k.a. “perimeter departments”). It automates the center store and allows the grocer to focus on customer experience with produce, meat, dairy, bakery, cafe, etc.
A local fulfillment center is compact, modular warehouse built within, or added to, a store. This term was used by Walmart, but was replaced with “market fulfillment center”. Others may use micro-fulfillment center (MFC) as an analogous term. It includes an automated replenishment system to provide automated picking of orders, storage and dispense at the store level.
Latency is the time between when an order is submitted and when it is ready for pick up or delivery. This is especially relevant as customer expectations move from placing an order the day before picking it up to same day (1-2 hr) pick up or delivery. This is a forecasting and inventory management challenge. Make sure the solution fits the real-world!