The Friday Report: April 27th, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Manufacturers See Opportunity in E-Commerce Shopping Trend

The supply chain logistics industry certainly is a complicated maze these days.  As the e-commerce wave continues to overtake brick-and-mortar retail, businesses across the supply chain are continually making adjustments.  Manufacturers that primarily shipped to retail stores have often seen reductions in shipments.  Because D2C involves the fulfillment of a larger number of individual orders, this is impacting the nature and volume of shipments and revenue of the manufacturer.

Reconfiguring space, using put walls and leveraging supply chain technologies, manufacturers are changing their business model to maintain or increase profit margins.

Some manufacturers are re-imagining their businesses to take advantage of the online shopping trend.  With pressure from larger clients and big box retailers, some manufacturers are moving to handle D2C fulfillment.  Although not a core competency, manufacturers are learning fast.

In fact, many manufacturers that had been outsourcing to 3PLs are preparing to bring fulfillment back in-house. Learning from distributors, manufacturers are implementing a multitude of tools including voice and light-enabled technologies (voice pick, pick-to-light, put-to-light, etc.), mobile robotics and other technologies.

Some manufacturers are reconfiguring space in order to have a dedicated workspace for e-commerce.  This strategy pushes costs upstream and reduces the number of touches typically required in traditional supply chain operations.  By viewing this as an opportunity, manufacturers can take advantage of new ways that they can present their brand to consumers and still support downstream retail partners.


Fresh to Consumers:  Walmart Competes with Amazon for Grocery Delivery

Big box retailer Walmart is poised to take the next swipe at leading online retailer Amazon.  By partnering with the on-demand delivery service Postmates,  Walmart will be able to service nearly 40% of households across the United States. Ready to expand its grocery delivery service, using delivery partner Postmates will enable Walmart to offer same day delivery of fresh food and grocery items to consumers shopping online.  The new Walmart grocery delivery service will launch first in Charlotte North Carolina and is expected to roll out to 100 other metro areas in the months that follow.

Walmart retail customers will place orders using either the Walmart website or an existing grocery app which is available on mobile devices.  Consumers can select a time window for delivery and will be charged a $9.95 delivery fee for a minimum order of $30.  Walmart also offers free pickup service in selected locations to consumers who prefer to order ahead and pickup their purchases at a store.

For California and other areas, Walmart has been teaming up with home delivery partners from Deliv and Uber.

Consumers Customize Last Mile Delivery with Dolly

One of the many challenges with last mile logistics is how to customize last mile delivery to meet consumer needs.  Consumers highly value last mile delivery visibility and enjoy the real time updates as well as the perception that they are in control of their delivery, all from the convenience of their Smartphone or mobile device.  A new startup venture is focused on providing even more convenience by delivering orders within a specific time window and location of choice.

Part of the “uberization” of the supply chain logistics industry, Dolly relies on individual contractors who are vetted and insured by a commercial insurance policy.  Consumers can determine the cost of the Dolly before booking and can pay, tip and review either online or in the app.

Additional services can also be selected.  Consumers who need both labor and/or transportation and delivery can choose from a variety of options.  Dolly helps consumers locate “truck and muscle” to fit the budget and schedule.

Currently Dolly is available in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.  Dolly plans to expand coverage in the future.

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