The Guide to Fixed and Flexible Logistics: Understand Applications, Evaluate Partners, and Build Internal Consensus

April 22, 2021

Scale your logistics network without steep capital investments and fixed-term commitments.

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Key Takeaways

  • Understand the strengths and limitations of fixed and flexible logistics.
  • Determine if a fixed and flexible approach makes sense for your organization.
  • Identify key applications of flexible logistics, and build consensus in your organization

With the continued rise in eCommerce, consumer expectations are at an all-time high. Businesses that want to compete must bring goods closer to consumers to reduce last-mile transportation costs and speeds. While it’s impossible to recreate a fixed logistics network that compares to Amazon’s, there are alternative logistics programs that enable businesses to meet and exceed consumer expectations. It’s called flexible logistics.

Find out why enterprise retailers and brands complement fixed logistics networks with a flexible logistics model to improve omnichannel logistics operations.

View the PDF: "The Guide to Fixed and Flexible Logistics: Understand Applications, Evaluate Partners, and Build Internal Consensus"
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Intro: Modernizing warehousing and fulfillment #

The objective of traditional logistics networks was getting goods to a specific location, at a specific time. Demand was proportional to the population density around a physical retail location, which made forecasting simpler. But, eCommerce decentralized demand. Instead of goods going to predefined locations like a grocery store or department store, orders must now make it to shoppers' doorsteps. That fundamentally changes how the supply chain needs to operate.

Amazon figured out early on that eCommerce is all about logistics. As a result, it spent years conditioning shoppers to expect faster delivery times while it built the infrastructure to support it. Amazon invested billions of dollars building a logistics network that is impossible to recreate.

Amazon isn't slowing down. Prime membership exceeded 126 million in 2020, and Amazon also announced the addition of 1,500 suburban delivery hubs to support same-day delivery. The retail giant continually resets and evolves consumer expectations. Increasing eCommerce volumes make this era of retail especially critical for every other retailer and brand. They must meet or exceed the customer expectations Amazon set.

Many of the world's largest and most innovative companies already take a technology-first approach and/or are embedding it into their strategies. More and more companies are adopting a dynamic approach to warehousing and fulfillment—an approach that complements fixed warehousing infrastructure with a flexible logistics model. Instead of making steep capital investments to expand logistics networks, major retailers are implementing flexible logistics to rapidly evolve their logistics strategies without fixed-term commitments.

Other sections in the guide include:
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Introduction: A New Era in Commerce

  • Modernizing Warehousing and Fulfillment

Section 1: Understanding Fixed and Flexible Logistics

  • Comparison Chart: The Features of Fixed and Flexible Logistics Solutions
  • Comparison Chart: Strengths, Limitations, and Ideal Utilizations
  • It Isn't An Either/Or Decision: Combining Fixed and Flexible Models Is the Advantage

Section 2: Determining Whether to Pursue A Dynamic Approach

  • Common Business Challenges in Logistics, Warehousing, and Fulfillment
  • Case Study

Section 3: Getting Started with a Dynamic Approach

  • How to Build Organizational Consensus
  • Making the Case Internally: Who to Involve
  • Buying Committee
  • Other Roles to Include
  • Who to Involve and When to Involve Them
  • How to Identify the Right Flexible Logistics Provider
  • How to Get Started

Section 4: Summary and Appendix