Conditions for executing a q-fulfillment process in the warehouse of a retailer of consumables : Based on a case study at Staples
Abstract: Title: Conditions for executing a q-fulfillment process from the warehouse of a retailer of consumables - Based on a case study at Staples. Context: Changing customer expectations, increasing GDP per capita and urbanization drives the development of quicker e-fulfillment. Research shows that customers are more likely to complete their purchase and buy more often if the retailer has fast delivery options, like same-day delivery. No literature was found describing how warehouse activities of e-commerce retailers should be adjusted to be able to deliver to the customer within an hour. Purpose: The study aims to fill the identified research gap by establishing conditions for a retailer of consumables to execute a q-fulfillment process from a warehouse. Economic consequences of the established conditions are also aimed to be clarified. Lastly the study explores under which conditions the case company, Staples, can execute a q-fulfillment process in their automated warehouse. Questions at issue: Under which conditions can an e-commerce retailer of consumables execute a q-fulfillment process in a warehouse?How are a retailer’s costs affected by applying the established conditions for executing a q-fulfillment process?Under which conditions can Staples execute a q-fulfillment process in their automated warehouse?Methodology: The study took an objective ontological approach, and epistemological and axiological assumptions were made. The research philosophy was positivistic, and a deductive approach was taken. The methodological choice was qualitative, and a case study was made together with the case company, Staples. All of these methodological choices esteemed by the authors as best suited for this explorative research. The sample selection was a mixture between a purposive and a convenience sampling, since it fitted the study, and the case company was located close to the authors. The theoretical chapters contain document secondary data, while the empirical chapters contain primary data in terms of one-to-one interviews. The data analysis consists of a circular flowchart and pattern matching to analyze the gathered data. The study achieved reliability since it was not affected by random deviations, and replicability because it was sufficiently detailed. It is valid since it was generalizable and the expected casual relationships among the variables were true. Ethical considerations were kept in mind throughout the entire study and the authors collaborated well. Results: The authors found 20 conditions for a retailer of consumables to fulfill to be able to execute a q-fulfillment process, and 21 conditions for Staples to fulfill. Many similarities were found between the two research questions and only one condition differed. The authors also found that some of the conditions drive more costs than others and that the retailer by themselves has to decide which conditions are applicable to their individual process. Keywords: E-commerce, Q-commerce, Quick-commerce, Quick order fulfillment, Q-fulfillment & Inventory management.
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