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What’s a Carrier? Logistyx’s Ken Fleming Explores the Definition at Supply & Demand Chain Executive

As customer demands and expectations shift, businesses are exploring new shipping options to keep pace. In his latest article at Supply & Demand Chain Executive – “Expanding the Carrier Definition for Modern Parcel Shipping” – Logistyx President Ken Fleming explores how retailers like Walgreens are turning to the gig economy to improve delivery times and customer service alike.

Ken also provides six questions businesses must answer before businesses know whether they’re ready for gig economy deployment:

  1. Does your inventory strategy accommodate ship-from-store fulfillment?
  2. Is your current software stack (inventory management system, warehouse management system, order management system) set up to accommodate the new approach?
  3. Do you have the right carrier/courier relationships in place? Which are available in your service areas, and which are the most popular?
  4. Do you have enough carrier relationships in place to handle potentially unexpected order volume?
  5. Are you working with a multi-carrier shipping technology provider that can accommodate gig economy carriers?
  6. Does your multi-carrier shipping software track and trace deliveries to ensure these new carriers meet contracted service levels?

Read Ken’s full article at Supply & Demand Chain Executive to understand how the gig economy has expanded the traditional definition of a carrier and learn more about multi-carrier management in our webinar, Embrace the Unprecedented Pace and Scale of Parcel Shipping Technology.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Discusses Matching Inventory Approaches to Business Models for Forbes

Following years of refinement and optimization, warehouses are fine-tuned machines, but that doesn’t make them the right machines for all business models. Some depend on housing inventory in large warehouses; others require a more diversified approach with different tactics.

In his latest article at Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming argues that matching an approach to inventory with the business model is critical for success, and that each combination comes with unique needs that must be addressed:

“As consumer behaviors and expectations change, product lifecycles shorten and supply chain disruptions happen more frequently and persist longer, businesses should examine their approach to inventory and how well it matches the current demands of their business model.”

Ken also examines three business models with different inventory approaches:

  1. Ecommerce Retailers Relying on Large Warehouses
  2. Omnichannel Retailers Offering Ship-From-Store and BOPIS
  3. Service-Oriented Businesses Tapping into 3-D Printing

Read Ken’s full article, “The Importance of Matching Inventory to Business Models,” to learn about the nuances associated with each pairing as well as how a blended approach might best serve your business.

While visiting Forbes, be sure to read Ken’s other articles.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Examines Marketplace Fulfillment Excellence at Forbes

Online marketplaces, both large and small, have become enormously popular in recent years, driving VC investment, acquisitions, and IPOs, as well as tech investment for payment solutions, site personalization and recommendation engines, and advertising. Perhaps the most critical component to sustained success is also the most-often-overlooked: order fulfillment as a chief driver of customer satisfaction.

In his latest article at Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming examines current fulfillment approaches for various marketplaces, how technology can improve the process while also easing the burden on sellers:

“Technology can help counteract [rate] increases in several ways. It can aid sellers by helping identify the best and most cost-effective carrier service based on business rules; it can audit historical shipping data to uncover efficiencies, new carriers, or services; and it can monitor every shipment to ensure carriers perform services as contracted and flag discrepancies, offering invaluable data for billing accountability and rate negotiations.

Technology can ease the burden on sellers by automatically providing shipping options to buyers at checkout, including an array of carriers and service levels, automatically generating the correct label for the seller and providing end-to-end tracking information and alerts about problems while in transit to manage off-track shipments.”

Read Ken’s full article, “Online Retail Marketplaces Must Lessen The Fulfillment Burden On Sellers To Stay Competitive,” to find out the questions marketplaces must answer for a successful technology implementation and how it can set them apart from the competition.

While visiting Forbes, be sure to read Ken’s other articles.

SaaS Awards: Logistyx President Ken Fleming Discusses the Benefits of Adopting a Digital Supply Chain

Significant events like the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, Brexit, and trade wars have considerably altered consumer behaviors and created new and complex supply chain challenges. In turn, these issues forced retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers across the world to revisit their global supply chain strategies and accelerate the adoption of cloud technologies to properly adapt and be better positioned to respond to future disruptions. As organizations reexamine their supply chains, boosting resilience has become as important for many as controlling costs and improving operational efficiency and customer service.

In a recent article for The SaaS Awards news site, Logistyx President Ken Fleming discusses how the sustained increases in e-commerce and omnichannel distribution across industries has more businesses seeking ways to prepare their supply chains to compete. Many organizations turned to a digital supply chain that relies on automated cloud technology to harness a data-driven approach to increase flexibility and visibility while reducing costs.

Ken shares some of the key advantages of cloud supply chains, including the ability to enhance the speed, accuracy and flexibility of supply chains, empowering all users within an organization to execute, track and analyze parcel shipping processes in a single solution. With a digitally mature supply chain, retailers, for example, can easily capture data from different systems to optimize the customer experience and minimize the cost of increasingly complex supply chain processes.

Embracing the cloud makes supply chain innovation more sustainable, helping organizations stay resilient, improve their parcel shipping operations, and generate quick and lasting ROI.

To learn more, read Ken’s full article on The SaaS Awards news page: “The Digital Supply Chain: Greater Resilience, Agility, Transparency

EPSNews: Logistyx President Ken Fleming Shares Insights for Avoiding Holiday Shipping Capacity Challenges

Now entering the thick of the holiday season with the pandemic resurging, the continued growth in online orders will lead to a significant increase in parcel shipping this peak season, with more packages headed to consumers’ doorsteps than ever before. Every part of the shipping chain will be stressed, with the last-mile part of the journey being stretched the most. In addition to shipping delays this holiday season, businesses must also contend with peak delivery surcharges and this peak season will add unprecedented expenses to shippers’ transportation budgets.

In a recent article for EPSNews, Logistyx Technologies President Ken Fleming discusses some of the shifts consumers and merchants are making to navigate this unique peak shopping season. He shares insights on carrier surcharges, early shopping trends, and other obstacles fulfillment teams face entering peak season 2020.

To manage the excess volumes successfully and offer cost-effective ways to meet rapidly evolving customer demands, many merchants have implemented fulfillment strategies that include a multi-carrier transportation network. By growing their carrier network, merchants can introduce more options and capacity into the parcel delivery mix and create greater flexibility and diversity in fulfillment to stay ahead of delivery capacity shortages and increasing e-commerce volumes.

Read Ken’s full article on EPSNews: “Avoiding the Strain of Shipping Capacities This Holiday Season


Logistyx President Ken Fleming Dissects the Agility of Autonomous Shippers and Omnichannel Retailers for Logistics Viewpoints

In his latest Logistics Viewpoints article, “Tech Integration Keeps Shippers in Step with Customers,” Ken examines how autonomous shippers and omnichannel retailers can quickly respond to the evolving demands of customers thanks to the fully-integrated systems underpinning their fulfillment operations.

These agile organizations rely on a designated system of record to serve as a central nervous system that unites all disparate technologies and ensures they work cooperatively and share data across the organization. Merchants carefully select the best system of record for their own organization, but warehouse management systems, order management systems and transportation management systems are among the most prevalent. With a system of record in place to unify technology throughout the organization, merchants unlock many benefits, including the ability to “quickly augment fulfillment, customer service and other critical capabilities with specialty software,” as Ken explains.

Want to know more about how omnichannel retailers and lights out or black box shippers with fully-automated fulfillment operations can add specialty software to expand capabilities and stay in step with the evolving demands of customers without missing a beat? Read Ken’s latest article or peruse Ken’s other Logistics Viewpoints contributions for more supply chain insights.

Three Delivery Trends Set for Growth: Ken Fleming Talks to Parcel and Postal Technology International

Driven by a shift in consumer expectations to a ‘delivery from anywhere, to anywhere, at any time’ mindset, Ken Fleming, President of Logistyx Technologies, discussed three trends that are set to offer increased convenience for customers, carriers, and companies with Parcel and Postal Technology.

Saturday delivery for no extra charge

In the summer, UPS announced it would launch a Saturday service across eight European countries at the same price as weekday delivery.  As its rationale, the company cited research from IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which said reported ecommerce sales in the UK grew by a third (33%) in May.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainHowever, Ken sheds some additional light on why this is set to be a growing trend: “There are potential cost implications in offering a six-day standard service, but operationally it is not a massive burden. It will help flatten couriers’ weekly peak, whereby parcels from shippers that have a Saturday collection, but no delivery until Monday, stack up at the courier’s warehouse.  I would be very surprised if the trend doesn’t continue across the industry, especially due to the recent increase in e-commerce sales, which shows no sign of dropping off.  If carriers don’t start to add Saturday, or even Sunday delivery at a standard weekday rate, capacity in the industry may not keep up with demand.”

Increased on-demand changes to delivery

While it isn’t new in itself, it is significant the UK’s Royal Mail added in-flight options to its delivery service in July.  Due to the volumes it handles, this announcement represents a massive and challenging undertaking for the organisation.

Ken comments: “On-demand delivery changes tend to be more common with standard two to five-day services.  After all, if you want guaranteed next day delivery, you will likely pay for it and be happy to ensure you are available to receive the parcel on that day.  However, not many people want – or are able – to be available at any time over several days or to have to queue up to collect a non-delivered parcel from a depot, even at the best of times.  The huge spike in e-commerce means more carriers will have to give on-demand flexibility, or they will risk losing business to competitors who can offer it.”

Delivery from store

An increasing number of large and big-brand retailers are moving towards ship from store.  From the retailer’s point of view, it is both extremely efficient and – by reducing the movement of the stock – a greener option.  At the same time, it enables retailers to offer same day delivery via courier, particularly in urban areas.

“There are two key factors which must be in place to enable retailers to provide ship from store: accurate inventory systems, and a carrier management system which is intelligent enough to suggest delivery from store as an option when the order is placed.  From a customer perspective, they may not even realize their item has been sent from a store rather than an RDC,” comments Ken.

To facilitate same day delivery from store, it’s likely shippers will need to introduce new carrier contracts – including local couriers, who can deliver by moped, bike, or electric vehicle – or even potentially by drone or robot.  By shipping local to local there can be a significant reduction in miles traveled, reducing the environmental impact of the delivery.

The recent increase in e-commerce versus in-store transactions isn’t likely to go away any time soon and seems set to help the parcel shipping industry move from ‘fast and free’ towards transparent, customizable delivery options, putting the convenience of the customer at the heart of the service.

For more information on parcel shipping trends, check out the Logistyx Research Solutions.


Logistyx President Ken Fleming Rethinks the Supply Chain for Forbes Technology Council

In his most-recent contribution for the Forbes Technology Council, Ken discusses the need for companies to rethink their supply chain formulas to better address current and future disruptions. He explores the vulnerabilities and potential solutions for each step in the supply chain: manufacturing, warehousing and shipping.

As a critical example of a solution for companies looking to optimize and build a more resilient supply chain, Ken explores the impact that 3D printing (or 3D additive manufacturing) can provide, including:

  • Lowering inventory and production costs.
  • Cutting shipping costs.
  • Quickening delivery times.
  • Providing faster, on-demand customer experiences.
  • Eliminating middlemen in their supply chain resellers and long-distance carriers.

Ken also provides three steps for getting started with 3D printing for those seeking a nimble approach to addressing vulnerabilities in their current supply chain models.

Read Ken’s latest Forbes article:Rethinking The Supply Chain Formula,” and look for more in the future.

How COVID-19 Will Influence Peak Season (and Beyond)

The global lockdown resulting from the coronavirus outbreak changed e-commerce overnight. Online orders surged, capacity diminished, and carrier surcharges were applied.  And even after restrictions are relaxed, there’s a good chance the e-commerce landscape won’t revert back to its pre-COVID-19 norms. In the early 2000s, the SARS outbreak made e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD.com household names–and neither platform has since forfeited their winning positions. But are e-commerce supply chains prepared to sustain their current rate of order fulfillment? The first test will be peak season.

New call-to-actionIn a recent article in Direct Commerce, Logistyx Technologies President Ken Fleming describes how essential and non-essential businesses have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures many shippers are already taking to prepare against future disruptions, including implementing a cloud TMS for parcel shipping to successfully pivot to an omnichannel distribution approach.

Read Ken’s full article: COVID-19: How the E-Commerce Supply Chain is Reacting… and How it Will Impact Peak Season.

Ken Fleming Discusses Sustainability and Parcel Shipping in Manufacturing & Logistics IT

Consumers are placing an increasing importance on purchasing products that are environmentally friendly, and manufacturers are responding with product portfolios that include green goods and recycled packaging.  However, it’s important to remember sustainability isn’t just about ethically sourced raw materials, it’s also about improving the end-to-end supply chain to both reduce environmental costs and waste as well as increase efficiency. In fact, it is often the combination of many small(er) changes throughout the supply chain that make a big impact.

In a recent article in Manufacturing & Logistics IT, Logistyx Technologies President Ken Fleming shares two key areas for improvement in sustainability in direct-to-consumer e-commerce: packaging and shipping modes.  From “fitted” packaging that can be reused for returns… to consolidating shipments… to adding couriers to the transportation network… to offering incentives for longer shipment delivery windows, Ken discusses how a cloud Transportation Management Solution (TMS) for global parcel shipping with Business Intelligence provides shippers with the raw data and insights to manage complex supply chain ecosystems with an eye toward improving sustainability.

Be sure to read Ken’s full article on Manufacturing & Logistics IT: Improving Sustainability in the Parcels Market: Two Key Focus Areas and then contact us to explore opportunities to improve sustainability in your own supply chain.

Digital Commerce 360: Optimizing Luxury E-Commerce Fulfillment During (and After) a Pandemic

Sales of luxury goods are increasingly driven by e-commerce sales. While many retailers strive to meet customers’ e-commerce delivery needs by offering quick and affordable shipping above all else, luxury retailers and the customers they serve tend to view luxury e-commerce fulfillment differently. Often willing to pay more for premium goods and personalized shopping experiences, consumers buying luxury products typically want transparent fulfillment and white glove customer service.

In a recent article for Digital Commerce 360, Logistyx Technologies President Ken Fleming shares best practices for luxury retailers to help advance their shipping strategies to satisfy their customers’ elevated expectations. These include prioritizing white glove customer service, emphasizing reliability and transparency, and leveraging automation to meet these and other critical needs.

As supply chains evolve through the age of luxury e-commerce – and especially in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic – leveraging tools that increase transparency, connectivity and personalized customer service can give retailers a greater competitive advantage.

Read Ken’s full article on Digital Commerce 360: “Optimizing the Ecommerce Fulfillment Experience in Luxury Retail During a Pandemic.”

Leveraging IoT Data for Last-Mile Delivery: Ken Fleming Featured in IoT World Today

According to Logistyx President Ken Fleming in a recent IoT World Today article, “the last mile should be the first thing you think about.”

So, how can shippers prepare for and execute successful last-mile parcel shipping while balancing cost, service, time management, and solid planning? The answer to this critical question varies for every shipper, but there are some considerations that can help any business take their last-mile strategy further. Data insights, tech solutions, and an integrated plan that ensures all systems are working together are all key to meeting consumer’s high expectations for parcel delivery and your company’s revenue and execution goals.

While the last-mile landscape is more intricate and complex than ever, it also contains a multitude of insights that shippers can use to their advantage. Utilizing advanced technology that supports the Internet of Things (IoT) and allows unrestricted access to real-time insights, shippers can effectively mine through this rich data to remove some of the complexity and achieve greater visibility into carrier data to more seamlessly fulfill last-mile delivery.

A solid plan of action must include proper use of IoT data to its full extent, including proactive team communication, forecasting, and researching new products and solutions that could help your company better understand the competitive last-mile landscape.

Check out IoT World Today for more on this topic from Ken and other logistics leaders. And, learn more about how Logistyx’s Business Intelligence helps shippers gain real-time visibility into each parcel shipment and invaluable insights for cutting costs and scaling your end-to-end shipping strategy, including critical last-mile delivery.