IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer

Optimize inventory and fulfillment decisions across your entire network to avoid stockouts, reduce markdowns, meet customer expectations, and increase profitability.

Services & Solutions > Capabilities > Order Management > IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer with Watson

Take your fulfillment to the next level with intelligent optimization

Digital supply chain

Customers want what they want – when and where they want it. The overwhelming demand for omnichannel is compelling retailers and consumer brands to adopt advanced order management and fulfillment solutions

These powerful tools provide visibility and management capabilities that vastly improve the efficiency and economy of the order lifecycle.

The results benefit both the customer and the company: customers get their orders according to their own preferences, and companies are able to offer the service customers demand while maintaining tighter control over processes. It’s a great improvement, and many companies are reporting exceptional results.

Innovative companies are advancing these capabilities even further with Artificial Intelligence (AI), helping them achieve even greater efficiency and value. AI provides a new layer of intelligence that applies advanced analytics, simulation, and real-time optimization to order management systems.

Leverage the power of cognitive intelligence.

IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer is an AI-powered engine that boosts the power of your existing order management and inventory visibility systems through cognitive intelligence.  With Fulfillment Optimizer, companies are better able to understand and act on changes in the market as they occur to optimize sourcing and fulfillment decisions and processes.

The solution helps to gain real-time sourcing flexibility, maximize fulfillment capacity by leveraging stores, optimize inventory utilization, and improve the last mile of fulfillment – helping to protect margins while meeting delivery expectations.  It enables companies to intelligently balance fulfillment costs with delivering great customer experiences, helping to minimize the omnichannel cost to serve while increasing profitability.

And as they do so, they gain valuable insights and granular, customized control over fulfillment that gives them a differentiating advantage. In a highly competitive and volatile marketplace, it’s a great solution to help you fight back against increasing cost-to-serve and intensified customer demands.


Are you spending more to earn less?

In a recent IBM survey, 50% of shoppers said that they’ve decided where to make their online purchase based on whether they could pick up their order in-store. Furthermore, 85% of them said that they made an additional purchase in the store while doing so. While it’s clear these omnichannel capabilities are important, the cost and complexity of supporting them can eat away at already-thin margins.

Delivering on demands is expensive.
According to an IBM study, some retailers have experienced:

  • 300% increase in the cost-to-serve the omnichannel customer.
  • 18% of every dollar spent goes toward order fulfillment.
Lack of inventory visibility is resulting in lost sales.
  • Difficulty meeting promised delivery dates.
  • Customer walkouts because an item is out-of-stock.
  • In-store staff can’t save the sale by locating an out-of-stock item at another nearby location.
  • Lack of visibility into in-transit inventory prevents it from being included in an order.
Fulfillment processes aren’t integrated across channels.
  • Stores aren’t being leveraged as distribution centers during peak periods.
  • Inventory can’t be fulfilled from the most cost-effective location.

To remain financially stable and competitive, retailers and consumer brands must find ways to reduce fulfillment costs. They must also seek additional opportunities to drive revenue, anticipate demand, and respond faster to change.

Boosting the power of your order management solution with IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer helps to address these needs and more. It provides the visibility, insights, and automation you need to intelligently balance fulfillment costs, increased revenue, and customer experience.

IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer improves profitability through visibility, insights, and intelligence.

  • Enable real-time order sourcing flexibility and optimization.
  • Optimize inventory to meet customer expectations.
  • Reduce shipping and fulfillment costs with AI and analytics.
  • Empower business users to monitor and manage operations more effectively.
  • Simulate fulfillment scenarios to improve performance.
  • Gain actionable insights to increase agility and improve business results.
  • Sources orders with real-time data on available capacity, labor, and overtime.
  • Provides sourcing flexibility and executes new sourcing decisions in real-time.


  • Make sourcing decisions based on the complete cost-to-serve.
  • Source wisely to reduce split order costs.
  • Identify and adjust sourcing for sales velocity.
  • Automatically learns sales and demand patterns.
  • Prioritizes slow-moving or obsolete inventory in stores to meet eCommerce demand.
  • Shifts inventory away from low-demand locations.
  • Make better use of “at-risk” and returned inventory.


  • Use inventory at its most profitable price point.
  • Leverage stores to meet customer delivery expectations and maximize fulfillment capacity.
  • Minimize markdowns and out of stocks.
  • Leverages AI capabilities to continuously learn and improve outcomes for omnichannel fulfillment.
  • Analyzes total fulfillment costs and performance issues such as labor cost, packaging, and time to fill.
  • Automates order splitting.
  • Evaluates multiple carriers in real-time carrier based on criteria such as rate card, weight limits, cube limits, transit dates, carrier availability, and carrier node availability.
  • Adjusts intelligently to optimize customer satisfaction and lower cost.


  • Reduce shipping and fulfillment costs.
  • Ship items from the lowest cost-to-fill node.
  • Increase shipments of full orders.
  • Reduces costs while balancing with customer experience.
  • Customized dashboards provide details that are relevant to each individual’s role.
  • Enables managers to monitor operations at a high level and dig deeper when needed.
  • Allows business users to use natural language to get answers and take action easily.
  • Integrates with any order management solution, making it easy to apply advanced analytics and optimization to existing capabilities.


  • Adjust proactively to changes in the market as they occur to meet customer expectations, protect margins, and utilize store capacity.
  • See when performance differs from expected results and take fast remedial action.
  • Scale fulfillment capacity when needed to meet increases in consumer demand.
  • Create meaningful reports for various stakeholders, quickly and easily.
  • Simulates performance around how specific events might impact the business
  • Uses its understanding of business and consumer response to allow users to create “what-if” scenarios and evaluate their impact.


  • Compare and test new fulfillment strategies before implementing them based on historical data and knowledge of future demand.
  • Reduce risk and improve overall performance.
  • Dynamically monitors capacity throughout your entire enterprise.
  • Provides a holistic, actionable view across eCommerce, merchandising, logistics, store operations, and supply chain.
  • Detects market patterns, trends, opportunities, and competitive threats.
  • Evaluates factors impacting fulfillment performance down to the individual SKU and node level.
  • Dynamically balances between different business objectives based on time of year (peak, non-peak) and strategic considerations.
  • Leverages machine learning to improve over time as it takes in increased amounts of data.


  • Drive better results through changing conditions.
  • Reduce cost to serve while ensuring high-quality service.
  • Protect your margins and increase profitability.
  • Gain competitive advantages by enabling a faster, more agile response to consumer behavior.

IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer boosts the cognitive power of your OMS system. Lightwell consultants help you accelerate the benefits of it.

IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer leverages advanced analytics and cognitive capabilities in real time to optimize sourcing and fulfillment while minimizing cost-to-serve.

Our team has extensive expertise around omnichannel order management and has helped many organizations like yours improve their bottom line through optimized order processes and fulfillment. Working collaboratively with your team, we’ll guide you through a fast and effective implementation, drawing on our extensive experience in the retail and consumer goods industries.

IBM Platinum Business Partner of Year

We combine our industry and collaborative skills with the strength of IBM. We offer a full range of order management consulting services to help you get the most from your investments. We’re a Platinum Business Partner and were granted the prestigious IBM Sterling Business Partner of the Year Award.

Learn more about our comprehensive order management consulting services and innovative order management software and solutions.

Illuminating Resources​

hidden text

Let’s Get Started

With competition growing fierce, and margins squeezed tighter and tighter, you’ve no time to lose to attract and retain your valuable customers. Let us help you leverage your existing order management solution with the cognitive power of IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer.

Contact us to explore what we can accomplish together.

  • Lightwell is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. Please confirm that you agree with our privacy policy by checking the box below.