Businesses have long since entered the E-Commerce marketplace. But how do you physically fulfill all of those online orders?
The age of technology and innovation has made E-Commerce order fulfillment business processes and solutions so readily available that it has become highly competitive. This competition is especially apparent in the area of E-Commerce Third-Party Logistics (3PLs).
How can you tell if your Supply Chain is broken? Do you need a Supply Chain Detective?
Certainly there can be obvious clues: your CEO starts firing and hiring people, consultants are brought in, customers start leaving, or operating and financial performance suffers.
But before the situation gets to those extremes what are the clues that your Supply Chain is not working as well as it could, or should?
Supply Chain effectiveness is absolutely critical for companies in most industries to survive, let alone succeed. And even if your company seems successful now that is no guarantee that it will be in the future.
So detecting those clues and solving these problems is of paramount importance.
Predictions article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Kuebix at https://www.kuebix.com
In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that, “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory. Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”
To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in the future.
Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms, and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch. Digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.
These are the innovative technology predictions companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:
Cloud-based technology deployments lower cost of ownership due to not having a large capital expenditure on hardware and upgrades. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for any size business because they can be scaled up as your business grows and are easier to set-up and manage.
Advanced Analytics will support real-time decision making based on data captured across the supply chain. With analytics, businesses can more effectively predict and fill demand. You can also manage relationships with carriers, suppliers and customers while improving processes. Using advanced analytics in a transportation management network to look at historical traffic patterns, you can plan a truck’s route that takes into account time delays for more accurate arrival times.
Tracking and Tracing of raw materials through manufacturing to the end customer must take on Amazon-like capabilities, meaning customers will know where their orders are at any one time, just like when you order from Amazon. With track & trace, you will get deep visibility to SKU-level information from first-mile to last-mile, including the tracking of costs to better monitor transport spend. Communications with customers will be proactive instead of reactive, alerting customers if their order will be late or when it will arrive.
Supply Chain Visibility will make data collected from end-to-end across the supply chain available to all stakeholders, giving them greater control and visibility into what is happening across the enterprise. You can uncover roadblocks within your supply chain that could lead to delays in shipping.
Blockchain will provide interconnectivity between ledgers of supply chain trading partners, enhancing traceability of transaction history. Automating the flow of information among trading partners provides transparency and boosts efficiencies. Blockchain works with cryptocurrency to determine payment amounts, allowing drivers to be paid as they complete parts of their journey. This completely removes the transport broker from the equation, giving drivers access to quicker settlement. However, blockchain is still a technology that needs further development before it can be proved useful to some businesses.
Artificial Intelligence initiatives require specialists who are hard to find, potentially stalling any projects. AI utilizes algorithms to detect patterns in vast volumes of data and interpret their meaning such as predicting whether a carrier will be on-time based on weather conditions and past performance.
Predictive Analytics, often combined with Artificial Intelligence, helps shippers understand, automate and optimize their supply chain processes to gain better efficiencies. Predictive analytics provides shippers with actionable intelligence and predictions to guide the decision-making process, helping you to reduce costs and optimize operations. Scorecards on carrier performance can alert shippers on which carriers can better meet their service obligations.
The Internet of Things (IoT)– More devices, from pallets to trucks will have sensors embedded to transmit status and performance data. This real-time information will be used for monitoring everything from equipment health to asset locations to order tracking and more. Advanced analytical systems use the data to uncover trends that lead to predictions and performance improvements and cost reductions.
Originally published on Supply Chain Game Changer on March 14, 2018.
Supply Chain transparency article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Sam Jenks at http://www.kodiakrating.com
As the story goes, the meatpacking districts of Chicago were one of the first recorded drivers, towards the need, for supply chain transparency. The Jungle, authored by Upton Sinclair, outraged the American public in 1904, after Sinclair’s depiction of the harsh realities of the meat industry at the turn of the 20th century. The book sparked consumer concern, which prompted the Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act (Linich 2016).
One could even argue transparency — at it’s origin — is a byproduct of consumer concerns, materialized within poor production, social and/or environmental quality.
No matter what industry you are in and no matter what channels you are serving your Customers expect delivery of their goods on time.
You may have different pressures, to increase profits for instance, but you must take care of the basic expectation of on time delivery first.
If you don’t have on time delivery all your other pressures will not matter. Your customers will go elsewhere and your business will fail. Even if you have a unique product that no one else in the world has (for now) you must deliver on time to your customers. If not there will always come a time when your customers will be able to go elsewhere.
Providing on time delivery may seem basic. But it is the foundation on which the rest of your business must be built.
The company I had just joined was nearing the finish line on the implementation of a new WMS system. They had been working on the system change for a few years. Now implementation was only a few months away. There were going to be lessons from the edge of this experience.
As the implementation date drew closer one of the key Warehouse management leaders, heading the project from the beginning, left the company. We forged ahead and implemented the system on April 1st. That’s right, April 1st!
When you order something Online there is great excitement in anticipation of opening your package when it arrives. With any luck the company you have ordered from has provided a positive experience in the online ordering and payment process. Now you are just waiting for the package to arrive. You certainly don’t want them to stop shipping.
Most recently we ordered a couple of items online. They were relatively small items and could easily fit in the palm of your hand. Within a couple of days a large box arrived at the front door. I wasn’t quite sure what it was because the box was rather big, big enough for a toaster or perhaps a couple of large board games.
I was surprised when we opened the big box, removed a bunch of crumpled paper and packaging material, and found the 2 small items we had ordered sitting on the bottom of this box. The items could have fit inside a standard envelope. Instead they were deliberately packaged in a box which could have held 200-300 of the items. Why don’t they stop shipping air?
Why have so few companies adopted a TMS (Transportation Management System) solution? There are tremendous benefits but there are obstacles, real or perceived, that get in the way. I believe that the benefits far outweigh the obstacles but the obstacles often do not have anything to do with the benefits.
Many years ago I started a Supply Chain Services business as a new service within the company. The fundamental premise was that we had great Supply Chain expertise, tools, systems and processes which we could easily offer to customers.
One of the services that was very compelling was our Freight Management service. We had a tremendous amount of spend leverage globally, a seasoned team, great supplier relationships, very strong processes, and an excellent Transportation Management System (TMS). With all of that we went to market!
Agile Supply Chain article originally published by Veridian and permission to publish provided by Jason Rosing.
The modern supply chain grows increasingly complex with each passing day. The digitization, focusing on fundamentals and change, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and many other factors are transforming how the supply chain functions.
Once, the lean supply chain was considered to be the most effective form of manufacturing and supply chain management. However, a new concept in supply chain processes, the agile supply chain, is quickly growing to replace the often overused term.
2017 was an important year for delivery logistics trends. With ecommerce sales reaching $23 trillion in annual sales worldwide, customers are relying on better and faster deliveries for all sort of goods and services.
But this evolution in the supply chain, and for last mile fulfillment in particular, doesn’t end with retail. From restaurant chains to supermarkets to pharmacies to service providers, the world of logistics is experiencing unprecedented change. What are the delivery logistics trends?
The CEO called. “We’re out of Parts … I need your help!” And so it began. These are my confessions as a high priced expediter.
Every Supply Chain is going to have supply disruption and raw material shortages at some point. So if you work in Supply Chain you are going to get involved in some fashion. Maybe you are calling suppliers, qualifying new, replacement parts, or maybe you are arranging for fast delivery of the shortages.
I have been involved directly or indirectly in resolving part shortages throughout my career. Even as an Executive I still got pulled in to these situations and asked to personally get them fixed. Once an Expediter, always an Expediter.
It’s been 6 months since we launched supplychaingamechanger.com. Our goal has always been to share experiences and expertise. The site has evolved. The number of categories has continued to grow. And the response has been absolutely tremendous. We can now present our 2017 Top 10 Blog posts.
In that time Supply Chain Game Changer was also selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 75 Supply Chain Blogs on the Internet.
So we thought that this would be a good point at which to share a list of the 2017 Top 10 Blog posts that we have published so far. We would be remiss if we didn’t also thank the phenomenal Guest Bloggers who have given us such great content.
A summer job I had during my University years involved the dismantling of old computer input/output machines and the recovery and salvage of all of the parts. For me it was good experience and good money. At the same time the disassembly of most every part of the machines for refurbishment, reuse, and recovery also seemed to be a worthy cause. It was Reverse Logistics before I knew what that was.
I considered it to be salvage, reclamation and repair activity. Over the ensuing years I was involved from time to time in other activities that involved quality problems, returns, repair, reclamation or recycling of some kind.
And then at some point all of these activities were included under the banner of “Reverse Logistics”.