One of the less often thought about components of the digital and retail revolution is how exactly customers and businesses will receive products. There are millions of SaaS company such as Shopify and WooCommerce to help merchant build up their sales website and handle SEO; but most of these platforms cannot provide the best logistics option / solution for the merchants. 99% of the merchants are not the logistics expert who may either under-estimate the importance of the logistics or find that the order fulfilment is a nightmare.
Amazon has set the new standard and many consumers expect to receive products ordered online within 48 hours with end-to-end shipment visibility. Other big players such as Target and Walmart are now trying to compete with Amazon by integrating a two-day shipping model as a standard part of their platform.
To keep up with increasing demand from e-commerce channels and meet the expectations of consumers, organizations will need to invest in their warehouses and distribution centres and increase the development and implementation of advanced supply chain and logistics processes.
New technologies such as augmented reality, drones, advanced robotics, and smart glasses for hands free pick, pack, ship, are the key to reducing costs and ensuring the competitiveness of the company and satisfaction of the customer.
All these model e-commerce logistics trends look like a huge investment and yes, it is. Unfortunately, companies that fail to keep up with logistics trends risk losing competitive advantage and falling out of favour with consumers. So, the question is, how to keep the company invest less but gain the most out of the technologies from the market. There are some tips for you to keep yourselves abreast of this logistics technologies war.
- Keep fast response to customer needs
To stay competitive in the modern market organizations will have to purchase predictive software based on the data and events all over the world. The flooding in Jakarta might increase the demand of wheals in Malaysia because the world is now connected since globalization 20 years ago. The control tower platform that links the different data sources will be very valuable to predicting purchasing trends. Using analytics and deep learning to customize the shopping experience by learning customer browsing habits and serving up likeliest products and recommendations is key to driving customer satisfaction and repeat orders. Developing a holistic ecosystem for maximizing all channels; including online, in-store pick up, e-commerce, partners, resellers, distributors, global manufacturers will drive net new customers, profitable repeat transactions and net new sales and loyalty. Taking steps out of the customer journey and streamlining the fulfilment process will allow organizations to increase their output with less inefficiencies and a smaller human workforce.
- Sustainable Solutions
The supply chain is no longer linear but rather circular. A key strategy for any logistics and supply chain management business is to be agile in resource allocation. In geographically diverse sectors companies that are better prepared to flexibly reallocate resources are best positioned to seize new opportunities and gain market share. Allocating resources to initiate a supply chain transformation is a smart investment that will yield long term positive business impacts. One of the best ways to improve your organizations supply chain strategy is through the implementation of advanced ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software. New ERP systems inventory sensing with supply chain management and warehouse management capabilities can automatically place orders with vendors when inventory levels drop below a certain level. Standardizing this process will increase efficiency, provide real time inventory management, raise cost awareness and help the organization gain data insight into purchasing trends and customer preferences.
- Manage your subcontractors
It is common to use 3PL and 4PLs for the order fulfilment especially for the international trade. It is extremely important to manage those subcontractors, from cost management, to order tracking to performance measurement. The pain point of most established e-merchant is to unite the different subcontractors to one single standard and protocol. The good news is that those 3PLs and 4PLSs continue to leverage their technology platforms as a major selling point of many of them having their own logistics system behind. But it will become increasingly harder to differentiate a logistics company from a technology and software company. What come along with this various service / platform is that you cannot keep all the service providers on the same standard. What you can do is to have your own transportation software and act as a centralized platform to connect with numerous service providers. The platform which should have its own API Gateway as an open source solution, will be your own control panel to manage the shipping order flows and at the same time get the delivery status onto one data source where your customers can see everything on same page.
- Adopt the software solution fast
Technology and the digital revolution will continue to disrupt every business and as the world becomes a smaller place more companies will have to embrace the digitization of logistics or risk being left behind. Every company today is facing pressure from digitally enabled change resulting in new competitors and higher expectations from customers. The modern consumer wants a global marketplace with access to products from Asia, Europe, etc. Companies will have to reduce the cost associated with shipment and fulfilment of orders in order to remain profitable. Advanced inventory sensing systems capabilities allow for predicative insights to be able to move materials forward and closer to the customers via pop up warehouses etc., to enable quick delivery.
Companies will need to invest in their back office digital strategy that is linked to their value drivers of customer satisfaction by building on their existing assets, customer relationships and partnerships and carefully implementing new technology.
As more and more organizations purchase software to manage and control warehouses and streamline the fulfilment and distribution process it will become mission critical for organizations to stay abreast of the latest advancements in the logistics and supply chain industries in order to stay relevant and competitive in the rapidly expanding e-commerce market. That’s the emerge of the SaaS solutions (Software-as-a-Service) for logistics industry. These solutions always offer free trial with low implementation cost and short contract period. This will and continuous to be the trend of software industry.