Logistics service provider MonarchFx said Tuesday that it has added the third-party logistics provider (3PL) DHL Supply Chain and the supply chain software provider Softeon as partners. The company has also received outside funding to build five automated DCs in time to start shipping products for e-commerce clients for the 2018 holiday peak season.
Andrea Epstein, a MonarchFX spokeswoman, would not disclose the amount or the source of the funding other than to say it came from a private equity or real estate firm that had provided enough capital to fund the company's five-year expansion plan.
The locations are in Southern California, northern New Jersey, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta.
Raleigh, N.C.-based MonarchFx was launched in 2016 by the supply chain consulting firm Tompkins International, which compiled an alliance of 3PL providers, software developers, and shippers in a bid to capture a share of the e-commerce fulfillment market for nationwide same-day, next-day, and two-day delivery.
Westerville, Ohio-based DHL Supply Chain will be a 3PL partner, while Reston, Va.-based Softeon will serve as a technology partner that can offer warehouse management system (WMS) and distributed order management (DOM) products, according to Epstein. The firms join other alliance members such as the 3PLs Kenco Logistics and NFI Interactive Logistics Inc. and the software developer JDA Software Group Inc. MonarchFx also has a delivery partner, whose name remains confidential, Epstein said.
Armed with its new source of funding, MonarchFx now plans to combine products and services from its partners to form a network of automated DCs called "Rapid Deployment MonarchFx Centers "(RDMCs). Each site will be located within a facility run by one of MonarchFx's 3PL partners.
The company said those first five locations would initially deliver e-commerce and "buy online, pickup in store" (BOPIS) orders. Goods will ship from the first facility in April, from the second and third sites in June, and the fourth and fifth in August, Epstein said.
That schedule reflects a delay from the company's original plans to begin shipping inventory by August 2017. "That was our preliminary schedule, but due to the level of innovation in software, robotics, and subsequent patents, our schedule has been altered to be ready for nationwide coverage for the holiday 2018 season," Epstein said.
Each MonarchFx DC will use robotic material handling systems provided by Tompkins International's own Tompkins Robotics division and the firm's Tompkins' warehouse execution system (WES) and SensorThink software platforms, MonarchFx said.