Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools
It’s safe to say that nearly every logistics professional reading this issue is feeling the pressures that digital commerce has introduced into their operations. Indeed, e-commerce has brought with it both increased opportunity and complexity.
Transportation in the NewsUPS announces new additions to Marketplace Shipping solution INTTRA expands ocean carrier network with NAMSUNG Shipping February truck tonnage is mixed, according to ATA data New DHL offering focuses on fast and flexible delivery service for online retailers Diesel average is down for the sixth straight week More Transportation News
Transportation Resource2018 Rate Forecast Thursday, January 25, 2018 | 2pm ET
Today, we’re all working to manage omni-channel order fulfillment while establishing a more efficient distribution and transportation network strategy to accommodate smoother inbound flow as well as next-day—or even same-day—delivery windows. To do this successfully, retailers, distributors, suppliers and manufacturers must innovate, adapt and evolve—or get edged out of their market positions.
In an effort to push the culture of innovation forward, Logistics Management has devoted this issue to helping readers get a firmer grasp of the current digital commerce realities and offer some practical solutions for better managing logistics at the speed of now. Kicking off this e-commerce focused collection is contributing editor Roberto Michel’s look at the technological tools available to help us work smarter.
“The analysts I gathered agree that logistics managers should be keeping an eye on longer-term developments that will reshape tomorrow’s possibilities,” says Michel. “However, they stress that shippers also need to think in terms of systems they can leverage today to make processes more efficient.”
Better use of data and predictive analytics, putting supply chain control towers and transportation management systems (TMS) to work, and leveraging the power of digital freight matching are just a few examples of tools at our disposal, but still largely under-utilized.
“TMS adoption is a perfect example,” adds Michel. “E-com is booming in the midst of a strong economy and trucking capacity is tight—and expected to stay tight. However, our research tells us that only one-third to one-half of our readers are up and running on a TMS—a solution that has been fine-tuned for more than a decade and now readily available from many vendors to open huge load-matching opportunities in the Cloud.”
Much like the list of TMS vendors has grown, our parcel express analysts say that as e-commerce continues to expand, so too will the selection of last-mile delivery options. In his annual “Parcel Roundtable,” group news editor Jeff Berman advises shippers to keep an eye on any new regional parcel players that may be uniquely positioned to help cut costs and improve speed.
“We’re learning that UPS and FedEx are keeping their eyes on new regional last-mile players and responding with new pick-up and drop-off points,” says Berman. “Our analysts suggest that these new entrants are winning business with price, so any shipper who can carve out a portion of their business and divert shipments may see some needed cost relief—but they must be willing to give it a try.”
One long-standing pain point that has been exacerbated by the e-com boom is the need for improved reverse logistics planning. As executive editor Patrick Burnson details, the return rate of e-commerce purchases is now about three times to four times higher than it is for brick-and-mortar purchases, and today’s fickle e-commerce customer will continue to drive that upward.
“Reverse logistics represents the biggest untapped opportunity for logistics operations,” says Burnson. “There’s customer satisfaction at risk, inflated costs at risk and the possibility of a missed, secondary revenue stream. But the good news is that an existing third-party partner may have a solution at the ready—just ask.”
About the AuthorMichael Levans, Group Editorial Director Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]
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Reverse Logistics in the “Age of Entitlement” Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools View More From this Issue