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FLEXE Hub: The end-to-end supply chain

A roundup of the latest news on logistics, retail, and industry trends

Keeping up with the latest store closures, emerging tech, and what Amazon is doing could easily be a full-time job. Luckily for you, it’s ours.

We’re looking at the biggest retail and logistics headlines from the past few weeks, including:

  1. The end-to-end supply chain
  2. Alternative showrooms
  3. Multistory warehouses

Let’s talk logistics

Is the end-to-end supply chain finally becoming a reality?

Sort of. In a recent episode of the Supply Chain Brain podcast, Roddy Martin, Chief Digital Strategist with TraceLink, discusses whether or not he believes the end-to-end supply chain is finally within reach. The barrier has long been fragmentation; disconnected systems, databases, and processes have made it nearly impossible to track and control the flow of product, data, and financials from supply all the way to the end customer.

In Roddy Martin’s opinion, thanks to new technology like RFID sensors and platforms like AWS that allow partners to connect and share information, we’re almost there. He asserts that the end-to-end systems, analytics, and data are now in place, but what remains to be figured out is how to connect them all.

Via Supply Chain Brain

Retail, reinvented

A new way to do physical retail

Digitally native, direct-to-consumer brands are disruptive by nature. They began on the internet, disrupting the traditional retail model. But now that online is becoming increasingly competitive and oversaturated, they have to find alternative ways to stand out. While some like Casper and Away are actually going back to traditional and showroom models, others are getting creative with how they showcase their products.

Furniture company, Burrow, didn’t have enough money to open up brick-and-mortar stores itself, so it partnered with coworking spaces, coffee shops, and other retailers, putting its furniture in their spaces for customers to try out.

Outer, an outdoor furniture brand, took an even more unconventional route—turning its customers' backyards into showrooms for its furniture. It invited existing customers to act as hosts so potential customers could interact with the product in real environments, and see firsthand how it weathers and wears over time.

As getting attention online becomes increasingly difficult, we can expect more and more retailers to think outside the box with their retail strategies. And with new tech and crowd-sourcing models, the sky's the limit.

Via Retail Dive

What’s Amazon up to?

Trying out a new type of distribution center. Amazon is seeking new ways to cut down on delivery times. Its latest method is a multistory warehouse in downtown Seattle that aims to make delivering same-day packages in congested cities far more feasible.

Industrial real estate availability is at a record low, particularly in dense urban areas. Multistory warehouses promise a new solution to better maximize space, and potentially reduce delivery times in cities. As Prologis Chief Executive, Hamid Moghadam, points out, “You have to go vertical because you can’t find a 50-acre space in the middle of a city close to the customer.”

Already a popular solution in some Asian and European cities, as more retailers like Home Depot (also leasing space in the same multi-story warehouse), Target, and Walmart seek to offer more next- and same-day delivery options, we can expect more vertical distribution centers to pop up in the United States. In fact, there are already three slated to be built in New York City.

Via The Wall Street Journal

FLEXE news & events

Gartner Supply Chain Brief

What is the world’s leading analyst saying about on-demand warehousing and fulfillment? Find out in the free Gartner report.

The 2019 State of On-Demand Warehousing

Our latest whitepaper covers everything you need to know about on-demand warehousing, including key industry trends and how your business can benefit. Download it here.

Upcoming events

FLEXE will be making our way through the supply chain event circuit over the next few months. Here’s what’s coming up:

Old news

In case you missed them, check out our last few FLEXE Hub’s: Back to school 2019, Life after the mall, and Amazon Prime Day 2019 news roundup.