Last Mile Delivery! What is your Strategy?

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Amazon has set the benchmark for Last Mile Delivery.  With massive Distribution Centres within a short distance of every major population centre they are able to offer fast delivery of virtually any product they sell.  The Amazon Prime Now service promises delivery within 1 hour.

Amazon Fresh is their grocery delivery option and with their Whole Foods acquisition they are obviously planning for rapid delivery.  Amazon Go is their Retail store option.  Amazon Key is their in home delivery service.   And the Amazon promise of drone delivery will further cement their leadership in the Last Mile Delivery race.

So how do you compete with that?  What are your options?  And what is your Strategy?

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3 Key Trends in E-Commerce Logistics!

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With the increase in the popularity of e-shops and delivery companies, the e-commerce logistics business keeps growing. It faces more and more challenges, as customers need companies to be quick and increase their logistics performance more than ever before.

What does it mean for your business? This article explains why understanding and following the key trends in logistics e-commerce are crucial for organizations that want to save their place in the supply chain and get better results with less effort. 

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World Class E-Commerce Fulfillment Principles! (Infographic)

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E-Commerce is the fastest growing avenue for doing business anywhere.  It has been for many years and it will be for many years to come.  In support of this your operations need to be World Class.

It is certainly a challenge to establish the sales, marketing, merchandising and transactional infrastructure to offer an efficient and effective E-Commerce solution to your customers.

At the core of the Supply Chain an enormous challenge is to have a highly competitive and compelling E-Commerce Fulfillment solution.  So what are the key principles that you must have in place to design, construct and deliver a leading E-Commerce Fulfillment solution?

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Has Walmart Beat Amazon Using an Omnichannel Returns Strategy?

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Amazon has reigned supreme in e-commerce for years, but Walmart is well on its way to making the e-commerce giant a little nervous. Amazon acquired Whole Foods and dropped the price of Prime Pantry through Prime Perks. Amazon began looking into brick-and-mortar storefronts, hoping to capture a new slice of the omnichannel pie.

Walmart has a different approach, and in several ways, Walmart is positioning itself to best Amazon in e-commerce through an innovative, omnichannel return strategy. To understand the true scope of this accomplishment, supply chain leaders need to understand the precursor steps Walmart has taken.

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3 Challenges Facing Supply Chain in the Next 5 Years!

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We stand at the cusp of some interesting new possibilities for business. As such, we can expect some potentially drastic changes, and with them the need for smart solutions. We’ll take a look at a handful of the major challenges facing supply chain over the next half-decade, and how the industry is approaching these. 

It can sometimes feel as though our commercial landscape is in a constant state of flux. Whether due to frequent changes in technology, attitudes of consumers, or shifts in working practices, this can breed both an exciting sense of competition, as well as uncertainty. Supply chain managers are often at the forefront of these developments.   

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Omnichannel Customer Service Best Practices!

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The growing size of today’s consumer market sets the stage for entrepreneurs and companies of varying capacities to take part. The US consumer market alone was at $1.5 trillion in 2016. And this number is continuously increasing, including omnichannel customer service.

According to an article from AdAge, US Gen Y or millennials are also swiftly increasing their slice of the pie, spending more than $200 billion annually.

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The Christmas Retail Checklist – Get Your Store Prepared! (Infographic)

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Now that the record-breaking Black Friday is behind us, retailers small and large must place their focus over the coming weeks on preparing for the Christmas retail holiday shopping season.

According to a report by Gartner L2, nearly 85%of holiday sales in 2017 took place in brick-and-mortar stores. It’s therefore hugely important for retailers to make the most of this time to get everything ready to maximise sales over the holiday period.

If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend taking a look at this helpful infographic from the team at Colourfast Printing which offers a handy Christmas retail checklist.

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The Omnichannel Alphabet Soup!

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Unchaining Change Leadership

At the start of my career, most brands and OEMs used a traditional two-tier distribution process through wholesalers and retailers to sell their products. There was no omnichannel alphabet soup.

“Advanced” companies passed orders via EDI. Brands knew little about their end-users, a far cry from today’s growing customer-centric approach with expanding arrays of channels and convenience options.

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Last Minute Supply Chain Preparation for Black Friday!

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Black Friday is almost here!

Retailers have been anticipating and preparing for this over the last year.  It has become the biggest online shopping period of the entire year with expectations for exponential growth over last year.

Further this period is so dramatically busier than at any other time of the year that it has an absolutely enormous impact on the Supply Chain of these companies.

In fact the readiness of the Supply Chain can make or break the success of Black Friday for most any company.

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What are the Top 7 Trends in Last Mile Logistics?

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SC Viral The Pandemic Diaries

Shippers face many challenges in successfully delivering products to end-users, and last mile logistics will be a core focus of change in the coming months. Consumer demands and expectations are rising, and up to 25 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for same-day delivery.

Also, same-day delivery will reach a 25-percent market share by 2025. By 2018 alone, same-day delivery and last mile logistics will be valued at more than $1.35 billion.

E-commerce is the driving force behind the sudden uptick in last mile logistics, and as explained by Logistics Management, e-commerce is expected to grow to $2.4 trillion by 2018 as well.

To gain a competitive advantage in last mile logistics, shippers need to understand the top seven trends in last mile logistics.

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Space Planning: Could You Run Out of Space in Your Warehouse too?

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“We are out of space!”

“What?  We’re only in the middle of September.”

“The receiving docks are backed up.  We have trucks in the parking lot waiting to unload their goods.  There are even more containers on their way.  And we have no empty space left in the warehouse racking.”

That was the actual conversation I had with the head of the Distribution Centre (DC).  We had a big problem on our hands to say the least.

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Get Ready for Holiday Now: Make It Boring (From A Supply Chain Perspective)!

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The Holiday season finished recently.  And the next Holiday season may seem far away.  But in the area of E-Commerce Fulfillment it will be here before you know it.  Now is the time to begin implementing the improvements and strategies you need to make this coming Holiday season more successful than last year.

Having gone through the ups and downs and stresses of several Retail Holiday seasons myself, one January I gave this direction to my team.  For the upcoming Holiday our theme was that we were going to have a BORING Holiday season … from a Supply Chain perspective.

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Competing against Amazon? You Need A Blue Ocean Strategy!

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Amazon is far and away the leader in the E-C0mmerce space.  Their growth continues at an exceptional pace.  And they continue to expand their products, services, and capabilities.  In short they continue to press their advantage and make it difficult for anyone else to compete with them.  You need a Blue Ocean strategy!

But if you are in the E-Commerce space that is your reality.  Amazon is the biggest shark in the room.  So how do you compete in the face of such an overwhelming adversary?

One technique is to consider creating your own Blue Ocean Strategy!  If you can define dramatically different space in which to do business you may be able to keep this shark, and others, at bay (at least for a period of time).

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Which is Better? Amazon FBA or 3PL?

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E-commerce is defined as the buying and selling of products or services exclusively through electronic channels. If you’ve made an online purchase through eBay, Shopify, Amazon (through Amazon FBA), and other platforms, then you have made your purchase via an e-commerce site.  More and more people spend their time browsing on the internet and the more likely they are to buy stuff online.

Admittedly, the e-commerce industry is booming. Retail e-commerce sales in the United States are projected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years, going from 322.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to just over 485 billion US dollars in 2021.

Why You Need Order Fulfillment Services

 If you’re looking for a business that will eventually get you out of your 9-5 job, or looking to expand your existing business, having an online presence and web-based store could fulfill this goal. For beginners in the e-commerce trade, what do you need to do to get more sales, with a lot of online businesses competing for customers’ attention?

Amazon

Customers want products that will give the best bang for their buck with speedy delivery, and good after-sales support. Here’s where the different companies offering order fulfillment services come in.

What is an Order Fulfillment Service?

 Order fulfillment is defined as the steps involved in receiving, processing and delivering orders to end customers. A fulfillment service is defined as a third-party company that provides these order fulfillment steps on behalf of another party, such as an online seller.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using either Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) or a 3PL for your fulfillment needs.

Fulfillment By Amazon

 FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon is a business model wherein e-commerce sellers on the Amazon Marketplace, big or small, can have their products stored in any of Amazon’s giant warehouses, pack and deliver them to customers, handle customer support, and returns.

FBA Pros
Expertise and Reach

 Amazon has one of the most advanced e-commerce fulfillment service in the world, can help you scale-up or grow your business and as of the last measured period, the source estimated 90 million paying Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States, up from 63 million in June during the previous year.

Amazon Prime customers are eligible for 2-Day Shipping, Free Shipping and other benefits. If you sign up your products for Amazon Prime, your products are eligible for free shipping, too.

Customer Service and Returns

FBA handles customer service and returns. Listings are displayed with the Prime logo, so customers know that Amazon handles packing, delivery, customer service, and returns.

They handle the fulfillment services side of the business and saves your time, so you can focus on the other aspects of your business.

Multi-Channel Fulfillment

With Multi-Channel Fulfillment, you can fulfill orders from other sales channels using your inventory stored in Amazon order fulfillment centers. Single-source your inventory to streamline your fulfillment operations, manage your inventory through an online user interface and can direct Amazon to return your inventory in e-commerce fulfillment centers at any time.

Cons of using FBA
Customization

Little to no order customization. Sellers must comply with existing Amazon .processes.

Branding

Items are shipped in Amazon boxes. Sellers can ship in generic boxes which may cost extra.

Warehouse Pricing

Storage fees are generally higher compared to 3PLs and usually rise during holidays.

Higher order handling fees for non-Amazon orders.

Communication

Solutions are based in standard processes which may pose little opportunity for dialogue.

Conflict of interest

The fact that Amazon may actually be a competitor to the seller. Amazon is in the business of selling, they just happen to offer shipping services. For Amazon, it’s free product and market research, and they’re making money off you.

Third Party Logistics (3PL / TPL)

Third–party logistics in logistics and supply chain management is a company’s use of third party businesses to outsource elements of the company’s order fulfillment services.

Pros of Using 3PL
Customization

Boxes/bags and all internal packaging are customized to a specific brand. Processes are adapted to your business’ operation and specification.

Warehouse Costing

Attractive storage costs that is variable. Customer pays storage space on a given month. Some 3PLs even offer free warehouse storage for a limited time.

Communication

Has onboarding processes, frequent communication before and after product launch. Collaborative approach is encouraged.

B2B (Business to Business)

Certain 3PLs can handle both B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer) fulfillment, resulting in one e-commerce fulfillment partner for all sales channels.

Cons of Using 3PL
Finding a Trustworthy 3PL company takes time.

Not all 3PL providers are created equal. It takes time to find a good company to work with from the beginning. Once you find someone you can trust, you can rest assured that your goods are being properly cared for. The initial search could be stressful but it will all be worth it once you find a reliable 3PL company.

Bad Service Reflects on Your Company

An inefficient 3PL provider could make your company look bad. Your customers do not care who is in charge of getting the product to them. All they care about is the end result. It is very important to look for a good distribution center early on to avoid customer-satisfaction issues in the future.

Amazon FBA or 3PL in Conclusion

Order Fulfillment Services are a crucial part of your business and a major factor in determining its success or failure. Whether you entrust your fulfillment services to FBA or a 3PL, there is a greater chance that you will be in good hands – these are fulfillment experts, after all.  The key difference is you as the owner,  – what do you want for your brand and what kind of customer experience you want to give to your consumers.

If you are happy to use Amazon’s existing system and tap into their wide customer reach, FBA may be a perfect fit for your company.  If, however, you would like more control over your order fulfillment services, partnering with a 3PL could be the best solution. Make sure your order fulfillment service provider is experienced with the type of operations you need before you entrust them with your reputation.

Amazon FBA article and permission to publish here provided by Dona Dimaculangan at 3p-logistics.co.uk. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on March 8, 2018.

Complexity in the Retail Supply Chain!

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As consumers the complexity in the retail supply chain is usually oblivious to us. We go to the store and pick up the goods that we want. Or we order goods online from our devices at home, in the office, or anywhere for that matter. We consume the items, returning them if necessary, unaware of all of the work that went into making those goods available to us.

A phenomenal amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make this experience as seamless as possible. I am not saying that it always goes smoothly. Sometimes items are broken. They are late. Or there is some other issue.

But behind the curtain that is Retail there are a lot of people managing a lot of processes and dealing with a lot of complexity earnestly trying to make your goods available to you.

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