E-Commerce is a phenomenon that has revolutionized the ways we shop and that even today it continues to change the relationship customers have with the products they consume. When it comes to logistics, the advent of this type of economy is something that represents one of the biggest drivers of change within the industry as it has challenged the physical distribution network and the supply chain in ways that we hadn’t imagined before. As e-commerce continues to grow, logistic channels must adapt to its demands and learn of ways to make their operation work in a manner that supports the rapid growth of e-commerce, and at the same time upkeep the level of effectiveness that today’s customers expect. The relationship we used to know 30 years ago was very simple and pointed a straight arrow from the suppliers straight to retail shops, today we have a vast network of hops that include fulfillment centers, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and parcel delivery companies that work together in order to bring shipments faster, more accurately and to break the bonds set by what we thought it was possible when it came to remote purchasing.
Today in David Kiger’s Blog, we want to talk about the most likely scenarios happening in today’s world of logistics and how the supply chain is transforming to make room for new ways of getting the products people want, right up to their hands.
Last year we all witnessed something that Amazon showed to the world called Prime Air. The service consisted of packages delivered by a drone and while it was a publicity stunt more than anything else, the way people reacted to the service seemed to enforce that a service like this would be gladly welcomed by customers and that they would have no problem paying premium for the convenience of having this innovative service do their last-mile delivery.
Drone delivery is a highly complex service and it could be a while before we actually see something like this happening in real life, but it does open the conversation in a very interesting way, because it shows that people still expect faster services that are tailored to their needs and have no problem paying more in order to receive such services. Another idea that comes with the drone delivery is the possibility of having self-driving trucks that transport the drones around an area and charge them in special docks as they arrive at a spot in which they can be deployed to drop off the packages. This could solve the issue with drones only being able to fly for short periods of time before they run out of battery. Drone delivery is an idea that today finds itself at its very early stages, but it would be wise to look at it closely because once it takes off, it could be another huge overhaul to the way we have been looking at the supply chain.
Another amazing idea that is making the rounds is that of combining Uber with freight delivery. A service that connects truck drivers with customers directly by using an app and helps both parties save a lot of resources by utilizing technology in an efficient manner. The means are out there and earlier this year the service began to operate. You can request a trucker to pick up your shipments and deliver them elsewhere and even get a quote right on the spot. At the same time, truckers can find the best ways to maximize their earnings depending on their routes and know right from the beginning how much they are going to make out of each of their trip. Solutions like this are not necessarily taxing on the technology itself, but instead make a great use of ideas that we already have and that have been properly tested. The point of technology is not always to reinvent the wheel, but sometimes to make sure we use that wheel in ways that we never imagined before. In the end, everyone wins and that is what this is all about.
The line between brick and mortar shops and e-commerce venues is blurring more each day. Today people want to have the option of staying home and ordering their products online and being able to go to the store every once in awhile. Customers are not yet ready to let go of their old ways, and while there are some products that people still prefer to buy in person, even in those areas people are making compromises. Grocery shopping, for example, was something that we always thought would remain the way it has for so many years, but with the recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon, people are starting to see the benefits of Omnichannel fulfillment. If we are able to break those barriers, then truly the sky’s the limit when it comes to adjusting the supply chain to today’s fast-paced economy.
* Featured Image courtesy of Pok Rie at Pexels.com