Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools

It’s safe to say that nearly every logistics professional reading this issue is feeling the pressures that digital commerce has introduced into their operations. Indeed, e-commerce has brought with it both increased opportunity and complexity.

By ·

Today, we’re all working to manage omni-channel order fulfillment while establishing a more efficient distribution and transportation network strategy to accommodate smoother inbound flow as well as next-day—or even same-day—delivery windows. To do this successfully, retailers, distributors, suppliers and manufacturers must innovate, adapt and evolve—or get edged out of their market positions.

In an effort to push the culture of innovation forward, Logistics Management has devoted this issue to helping readers get a firmer grasp of the current digital commerce realities and offer some practical solutions for better managing logistics at the speed of now. Kicking off this e-commerce focused collection is contributing editor Roberto Michel’s look at the technological tools available to help us work smarter.

“The analysts I gathered agree that logistics managers should be keeping an eye on longer-term developments that will reshape tomorrow’s possibilities,” says Michel. “However, they stress that shippers also need to think in terms of systems they can leverage today to make processes more efficient.”

Better use of data and predictive analytics, putting supply chain control towers and transportation management systems (TMS) to work, and leveraging the power of digital freight matching are just a few examples of tools at our disposal, but still largely under-utilized.

“TMS adoption is a perfect example,” adds Michel. “E-com is booming in the midst of a strong economy and trucking capacity is tight—and expected to stay tight. However, our research tells us that only one-third to one-half of our readers are up and running on a TMS—a solution that has been fine-tuned for more than a decade and now readily available from many vendors to open huge load-matching opportunities in the Cloud.”

Much like the list of TMS vendors has grown, our parcel express analysts say that as e-commerce continues to expand, so too will the selection of last-mile delivery options. In his annual “Parcel Roundtable,” group news editor Jeff Berman advises shippers to keep an eye on any new regional parcel players that may be uniquely positioned to help cut costs and improve speed.

“We’re learning that UPS and FedEx are keeping their eyes on new regional last-mile players and responding with new pick-up and drop-off points,” says Berman. “Our analysts suggest that these new entrants are winning business with price, so any shipper who can carve out a portion of their business and divert shipments may see some needed cost relief—but they must be willing to give it a try.”

One long-standing pain point that has been exacerbated by the e-com boom is the need for improved reverse logistics planning. As executive editor Patrick Burnson details, the return rate of e-commerce purchases is now about three times to four times higher than it is for brick-and-mortar purchases, and today’s fickle e-commerce customer will continue to drive that upward.

“Reverse logistics represents the biggest untapped opportunity for logistics operations,” says Burnson. “There’s customer satisfaction at risk, inflated costs at risk and the possibility of a missed, secondary revenue stream. But the good news is that an existing third-party partner may have a solution at the ready—just ask.”


About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of American Truck Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [ protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.


Article Topics

E-commerce · Viewpoint · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Strategies to Build Efficiencies into Your Supply Chain and Logistics Operations
This white paper outlines key areas where third party logistics (3PLs), carriers, retailers and manufacturing companies can replace manual repetitive work within their operations with new and innovative robotic process automation technology solutions.
Download Today!
From the November 2018 Logistics Management Magazine
If I were to share a single observation from this year’s CSCMP conference, it would be this: Nearly every conversation I had in Nashville touched on the motor carrier capacity crisis.
Land O’Lakes lock in Texas-based capacity
How will the tariff war with China affect U.S. container ports?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) in Manufacturing
Is digital transformation a risk or an opportunity? This webinar will detail Manufacturing industry challenges and how using IoT can address these challenges through optimizing logistics, improving processes and gaining meaningful insights.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
The Logistics News that Shaped 2018
Every year at this time, group news editor Jeff Berman combs through the mountain of news that was...
Land O’Lakes lock in Texas-based capacity
Faced with the challenge of securing capacity in specific lanes, the iconic company broke with...

8th Annual Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Work in progress
Volumes are strong and steady, service is improving, yet our panel of the nation’s foremost rail...
Transportation Best Practices and Trends: Frios’ cool solution for a hot seller
Gourmet ice pop maker adopts collaborative cold chain solution to keep profits from melting away due...
Велосипеды Ardis

ford.niko.ua

www.ukrterminal.kiev.ua