Historically a barrier to business operations and innovations, the supply chain is stepping into the spotlight as the key to modern-day retail success. Thanks to eCommerce, the supply chain is critical to meeting customer expectations and maintaining customer loyalty.
For a long time, the barrier to true supply chain efficiency and flexibility has been fragmentation. Disconnected systems, databases, and processes have made it nearly impossible to track and control the flow of product, data, and financials from manufacturing all the way to the end customer. But thanks to new technology like IoT and RFID sensors, and digital solutions for freight forwarding, warehousing and fulfillment, and transportation, retailers and brands can build a more agile, informed supply chain.
“Logistics is really at the forefront now. It's becoming a critical part of every brand. Traditionally that attention has always gone to product or marketing and now it really is important for brands to think about how are we going to get the product to our customers”Megan Evert SVP of Operations, FLEXE
Moving fast and under the radar
A great supply chain and logistics strategy is one that essentially goes unnoticed by end consumers because there are fewer disruptions that affect them: delivery delays, incorrect orders or updates, failing to meet the delivery expectations you set for them. Instead, it just works—goods get to where they need to be on time and undamaged.
It isn’t easy. Logistics, especially today, is super complex. Relying on traditional solutions, like siloed processes and data, long-term, fixed leases or investments just won’t enable businesses to be flexible enough to meet consumer demands.
To move fast and under that radar—to really make your supply chain your secret weapon—requires new technologies and solutions to make each step run more smoothly and efficiently. The results? More flexibility, data, and cost reductions so you can focus on continual improvement.
Thankfully, logistics and supply chain are two of the most invested-in categories today.
In fact, in a recent article from The Information, “VC firms poured $2.03 billion into logistics startups this year, according to PitchBook. That’s more money than in the prior seven years combined.”
Read on for new logistics solutions that are helping retailers and brands increase efficiencies.
A great supply chain and logistics strategy is one that essentially goes unnoticed.
End-to-end digital supply chain solutions
Especially today in the midst of ongoing trade wars, flexible freight forwarding is critical. Flexport combines a technology platform, expertise, and infrastructure to help businesses better manage the “black box” of freight forwarding, in order to plan better and smarter with the right information.
Inventory management and planning
Services like Unioncrate make it possible for retailers and brands to manage inventory throughout an omnichannel supply chain and create accurate demand forecasts.
IoT and RFID
From asset management to warehouse inventory location to shipment verification, Impinj helps optimize the movement of goods both inside and outside the warehouse by bringing visibility and control to your inventory.
Technology-backed, full-service trucking
For retailers and brands looking to simplify their shipping process, Convoy provides on-demand trucking that connects companies who need to transport goods with truckers via an automated marketplace. This allows them to more easily facilitate shipping and optimize their journeys, saving them time and money.
On-demand warehousing and fulfillment
On-demand warehousing and fulfillment gives retailers and brands a scalable, flexible warehousing solution that didn’t exist until a few years ago. Designed as a marketplace model with transactional pricing, retailers and brands can expand and contract their networks as needed. Similarly, warehouse providers can list capacity and services to generate new revenue on otherwise dead capitol.
At FLEXE, we help forward-looking retailers and brands create dynamic fulfillment networks and resolve capacity constraints quickly. Shippers can design the distribution network that’s right for their business and use the FLEXE technology platform to connect with warehouse providers in the locations they need.
Visibility into last-mile delivery
Historically, when making an online purchase, the time between clicking "Buy" and getting the order on your doorstep was a black box. Today, technology providers like Convey provide delivery experience management solutions, giving retailers and brands the ability to optimize the last mile and give consumers visibility into their order delivery status. Convey also gives retailers valuable data and tools to improve last-mile delivery with metrics around transit times, customer feedback, delivery performance, and more. Retailers can use data like this to better understand last-mile delivery demands to inform their warehousing and fulfillment network strategies and continually improve the delivery experience.
The proliferation of online shopping has introduced a new opportunity for retailers and brands to enhance the buying experience. Companies like Lumi and Arka enable businesses to customize and brand their packaging to curate the unboxing experience and provide a more tailored experience to shoppers.
Today, making your supply chain your secret weapon isn’t as cost-prohibitive as it has traditionally been. Instead of a cost center, it’s transforming into a strategic, competitive advantage, which is so important when the customer experience you provide is just as important as the quality of your products.
Fast and affordable delivery, order transparency, and beautiful packaging are all essential to keeping your customers happy, and they all start with your supply chain.
Download the FLEXE report, "2020: 9 Retail and Logistics Predictions"
Find out what major advancements will impact our industries this year, as well as where to focus to optimize your retail and distribution strategy.
You might also be interested in:
- Case study: Great Jones and FLEXE eCommerce Fulfillment - How Great Jones creates better customer experiences with FLEXE.
- Video: 2020 Retail & Logistics Trends & Predictions - Hear from a few FLEXE executives on what to expect this year.
- Blog: Free vs. fast delivery: Where do you go from here? - 3 steps to determining the right delivery promise for your customers and your business.
- Whitepaper: 2019 eCommerce Fulfillment & Logistics Report - Access several key insights highlighting the difference between what customers want and what retailers and brands can provide ... and what’s standing in the way.