E2open Acquires Global Multi-Carrier E-Commerce Shipping Software Platform, Logistyx Technologies. Read More

Entrepreneurs Tackling Supply Chain Basics with Logistics Technology

Supply chain problems continue to plague industries around the world: material and supply shortages, labor shortages and strikes, significant weather events, you name it. As companies seek solutions that can provide relief, some are looking to entrepreneurs tackling the basics, at least according to The Wall Street Journal:

“Rather, entrepreneurs are tackling the most basic challenges that plague all supply chains. Their innovations include more nimble systems for managing warehouses and tracking inventory. They are also developing software and services that make it easier to rent out unused warehouse space, or to help retailers position goods closer to consumers so they can reach them quickly. And they are working on new ways to automate parts of the labor-intensive supply chain, not just to reduce the need for scarce workers but to help make the employees that companies do hire more productive and happy.”

This follows reporting from The Wall Street Journal late last year that many supply chain and logistics technology companies are drawing big investments, including those focused on tools for operations such as managing warehouses, matching freight loads to transportation capacity, and mapping out cost-effective routes to move goods.

Of course, as new technologies enter the market, there are hurdles for which all parties must account, most critically, the pervasiveness of legacy technologies already in place. New tech solutions are only as good as their ability to integrate seamlessly with existing solutions for a unified experience. Disparate systems that don’t communicate or require manual processes in-between will struggle to keep pace in a fluid environment such as supply chain logistics.

At a bare minimum, new technologies must be able to integrate with the most common legacy systems, including major WMS, IMS, and shipping systems to become an integrated part of the technology stack. Basically, it’s imperative emerging technologies walk before they run. A new technology may do an incredible job of solving for one key issue, but without the ability to integrate quickly and easily with complex enterprise operations, it will likely stumble out of the gate with low adoption.

In today’s global economy, businesses recognize the importance of logistics technology for solving long-standing supply chain issues exacerbated by recent events. We look forward to seeing the innovations that emerge as entrepreneurs tackle these issues backed by greatly increased investment.

Contact us today to learn how advanced multi-carrier parcel shipping technology with robust technology integrations can help your organization take control of its logistics operations.

Deloitte Report: Ongoing Supply Chain Issues Warrant a Retail Reset in 2022

New year, same challenges. After facing nearly two years of shipping and supply chain issues riddled with carrier capacity crunches, increased shipping volumes, service delays, and a spate of surcharges and fees, retailers seek greater optimism and stability in 2022.

FreightWaves recently covered Deloitte’s new “2022 Retail Industry Outlook” report, based on insights from 50 senior retail executives identifying opportunities for a retail reset in the year ahead.

Among the biggest trends in retail e-commerce and supply chains for 2022 highlighted in the report:

  • Supply chains are top of mind – 80% of the executives surveyed believe consumers will prioritize stock availability over brand loyalty, meaning retailers will need to place inventory above all if they want to turn a profit. The report’s co-author recommends retailers gain as much transparency as possible from their sourcing partners while also bringing on new partners to expand their sourcing base and reduce the impact of widespread disruptions.
  • Automation is key – Half of the executives surveyed cited automation in fulfillment and distribution centers as a priority. The report recommends retailers automate their warehouse processes as much as possible and invest in automated technology for the last mile.
  • Data sharing and visibility – The Deloitte report highlighted the growing emphasis among retailers on data sharing and visibility for gaining an array of supply chain efficiencies. With the right data available, retailers can gain real-time insight into their end-to-end logistics and supply chain management processes to efficiently identify and address problems or patterns while enhancing the customer experience.

One other key finding spotlighted by FreightWaves highlights a problem that many shippers overcome by integrating Logistyx’s parcel shipping system with their inventory management, order management or warehouse management systems.

  • Focus on the last mile – According to the report’s co-author, one of the biggest obstacles facing retail executives will be reducing last-mile costs. With consumers expecting near-infinite fulfillment options, offering them all while keeping costs low is a challenge. Ship from store, curbside pickup, buy online pick up in store –– all are more expensive than a run-of-the-mill delivery.

In fact, integrating a parcel shipping system into the technology stack can make omnichannel fulfillment more cost-effective and offer retailers some much needed relief from common fulfillment challenges.

Parcel Shipping Technology Sets Retailers Up for Success

A cloud parcel shipping solution not only makes omnichannel fulfillment options more profitable for retailers; it can help them effectively tackle each of the above trends and more to succeed in e-commerce by enabling:

Supply Chain Transparency

Embracing the cloud can help retailers anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the supply chain. Digitized supply chains are faster, more accurate, and more flexible than other supply chains, and each is anchored by a single system of record for the organization.

When integrating a cloud parcel shipping system with a supply chain technology stack – including inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, and order management systems – retailers create a synchronized supply chain ecosystem, and they have a more complete view of their entire order fulfillment and logistics operations. Then, when a customer places an online order, the supply chain ecosystem identifies the best location from which to ship the product, automatically selects the “best cost” carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules, and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Once the parcel leaves its destination, the inventory management or order management systems are updated accordingly.  The retailer has created a streamlined, closed-loop order fulfillment workflow, and ultimately is able to satisfy customers’ e-commerce fulfillment requests while driving down costs.

Carrier Rating and Rate Shopping

Leveraging automation in e-commerce fulfillment processes can help retailers provide optimal service and streamline the customer experience without increasing costs. One quick win when it comes to automation is automating carrier rating and rate shopping. Parcel shipping technology automatically rates shipments and compares those rates within the retailer’s contracted carrier network for the same weight, destination, and delivery times, selecting the optimal carrier for the shipment at the time the order is received. For retailers wanting more control, the parcel shipping system can also “filter” these rate shops through the retailer’s custom business rules, which can be turned on or off.

Webinar - Take Control of Your Parcel Shipping Network

Business Intelligence

A multi-carrier parcel shipping system provides retailers with state-of-the-art tools to analyze parcel shipping data and enable teams to make decisions with context. More sophisticated systems include native Business Intelligence that aggregates and standardizes shipping data across carriers, giving retailers unprecedented reporting capabilities and an easy way to visualize masses of shipping data.  Stakeholders can run rate simulations, compare “what if” to current transportation strategies, and set and measure parcel shipping KPIs.

In addition, parcel shipping software with Business Intelligence can leverage cloud native technologies such as Spark Analytics, Data Bricks, Azure Synapse, and more, which provide faster analytics and easier integration to IoT input. It can take raw data and apply Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to predict the impact of IoT events on the supply chain. For example, it can help organizations:

  • Evaluate omnichannel capabilities to better understand whether stores can ship based on space and inventory
  • Determine which types of orders can be shipped versus picked up
  • Analyze the impact of carrier capacity limitations and order demand, providing managers with the ability to pivot carriers and transportation budgets to match customer expectations

Ready for a Retail Reset?

As e-commerce continues to grow, Logistyx ensures top retailers and others with large fulfillment operations have the right mix of shipping and omnichannel capabilities at their fingertips, while tapping into more than 550 global carrier integrations for an optimal transportation strategy. In fact, Logistyx was named the #1 fulfillment software provider to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 retailers for the third consecutive year .

To learn how you can improve your e-commerce fulfillment strategy and achieve a retail reset, contact us today.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Discusses Overcoming Supply Chain Crises to Succeed at International E-commerce for Forbes

Cross-border e-commerce is on the rise. In a Logistyx consumer survey, 57% of online shoppers indicated they made at least one purchase from another country between August 2020 and August 2021. While this is great news for retailers, ongoing global supply chain issues cast a long shadow, creating serious obstacles to success.

In his latest article for Forbes, Logistyx President Ken Fleming details the opportunities of cross-border e-commerce, the global supply chain crises retailers must overcome, and solutions for success, including:

  • Have a clear return policy and strategy in place
  • Utilize easy-to-view order tracking
  • Adopt a multicarrier shipping strategy with a global network of carriers to service each region
  • Have your paperwork in order

Read Ken’s full article, “How To Ensure Successful International E-Commerce In The Time Of Supply Chain Crises,” to learn how to implement each solution, as well as why they’re critical to achieving shipping KPIs and meeting customer expectations.

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

Investing in Technology Advancements to Enhance Sustainable Supply Chain Operations

As consumers increasingly demand quicker delivery of goods, the logistics of getting merchandise into customers’ hands has grown more complicated. At the same time, consumers have become conscious of the need for making deliveries more ecological. The focus on more sustainable, environmentally friendly delivery practices has led many shippers and transportation companies to re-evaluate their supply chains to strike this balance and better meet consumer expectations.

For instance, DHL Express recently ordered 12 electric aircraft from Eviation as part of its new push toward addressing broader sustainability concerns and zero-emission logistics while supporting e-commerce deliveries.

According to American Shipper, the new electric cargo jets “appear well suited for the on-demand, e-commerce environment where small, frequent batch deliveries are required.” Company officials say the aircraft will be used in its middle-mile U.S. network, replacing some similar-size planes that currently connect large air hubs and regional markets.

Other major carriers made similar moves in recent months:

It’s clear that sustainability within the logistics industry will become increasingly significant – not only to eco-conscious consumers, but to improving the end-to-end supply chain.

To create a more sustainable future in the logistics industry, companies continue to invest in and implement technology to gain actionable insights on improving operations to increase the efficiency of transportation and move toward a greener supply chain. The analytics capabilities of Logistyx’s cloud-based multi-carrier solution for global parcel shipping does just that by providing customers with the raw data and insights they need to continue to move their unique sustainability initiatives forward to both reduce environmental costs and waste as well as increase efficiency.

Logistyx’s multi-carrier parcel solution provides shippers the ability to easily choose the most environmentally friendly shipping mode and select the ‘right’ way to ship any particular package from a range of carriers and couriers based on business metrics by tapping into Logistyx’s library of more than 550 carrier integrations.

The use of Logistyx’s advanced multi-carrier parcel solution will increase agility by providing shippers with the ability to quickly onboard, leverage and optimize multiple carrier services while producing the data and analytics necessary to understand where logistics performance is sub-par and uncover opportunities to increase performance and savings, while making sustainable supply chain decisions.

Contact us today to learn more about how Logistyx’s multi-carrier shipping solution can help you improve sustainability in your own supply chain.

Logistyx President Ken Fleming Highlights Success of Vaccine Supply Chain in Healthcare Purchasing News

Healthcare Purchasing News recently published two articles on COVID-19 vaccine supply chain challenges and considerations for non-acute care facilities. Logistyx President Ken Fleming was among a handful of experts quoted; while acknowledging the challenges faced by front-line workers, Ken praised vaccine manufacturers for their flexibility and success in delivering life-saving vaccines. From the article “Pandemic response primes most intense just-in-time, last-mile logistics projects:”

“The scale of the operation is massive and requires a great deal of coordination from end to end,” Fleming said. “With 50 states employing individual approaches, the lack of a unified system introduces unique variables.”

Fleming urges people to think positive.

“With all of that accounted for, the success of the effort to get vaccines into arms has been rather impressive,” he indicated. “From a distribution and logistics standpoint, manufacturers have implemented new strategies – like shipping directly from manufacturing sites instead of central distribution warehouses – and created custom shipping containers for cold-chain storage requirements. Carriers have prioritized vaccine shipments, ensuring they have capacity and the cold-chain capabilities to rapidly deliver fresh vaccines when and where they’re needed. Vaccination sites have ensured they have the necessary cold storage and the personnel on hand to administer the vaccines in rapid fashion.

“Have there been challenges along the way? Of course, but it’s also been quite successful,” he added.

Ken goes on to detail three key steps vaccine manufacturers used to improve delivery speed, maintain required temperatures and ensure the return of custom shipping containers.

In “For COVID-19 vaccine administration, non-acute facilities need access in excess,” Ken highlights the importance of communication:

“The most important aspect for facilities is constant communication,” Fleming insisted. “If they’re encountering issues, not receiving expected shipments on time or in the expected condition, it’s critical to communicate that to everyone up the chain, including state agencies overseeing vaccination programs, carriers and manufacturers to ensure those issues are being addressed and addressed quickly.” 

Be sure to read both articles to better understand the role of supply chain in the ongoing vaccination efforts. Kudos to all involved for the impressive response and results to-date!

2020 Hindsight: Top 5 Takeaways for Retail Supply Chain Leaders

Well, we’ve reached the point where we can use the phrase “hindsight is 2020” literally. This cataclysmic year is officially in the rearview mirror, and we can start making sense of what we learned as supply chain leaders and professionals—and how we changed—during this pandemic. While it’s hard to limit the number, here are our top five takeaways.

1. The customer delivery experience is king.

In a world where anyone can build an e-commerce site (and in 2020, many did), marketing products online is no longer enough to generate an ongoing revenue stream. With a single click, consumers have myriad choices, which means retailers need to look beyond their digital marketing strategies to transform those browsers into repeat customers.

More than ever, it’s the customer delivery experience that gives retailers a competitive edge. In 2020, 40% of global retail professionals cited enhancing product delivery as a critical initiative.

Some brands were early to recognize this. For example, Amazon’s partnership with major retailers, in which the retailer accepts returns on behalf of Amazon, is just one example of the extent to which a company will go to improve the customer experience. And of course it goes without saying that even before this reverse logistics play, Amazon had re-defined the customer experience altogether by offering same-day delivery in some areas, for free.

There’s no doubt customers value this immediacy and convenience. Consider that 49% of shoppers say that same-day delivery makes them more likely to shop online. But even though Amazon and other retailers have successfully prioritized the delivery experience, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to accomplish. Like many modern business challenges, it’s technology that makes the difference.

Cloud multi-carrier shipping solutions enable companies to efficiently ship goods worldwide and improve the customer experience by:

  • Leveraging multiple carriers to offer fast and flexible delivery services
  • Increasing delivery transparency and providing proactive responses to unwanted delivery events
  • Ensuring carrier compliance to avoid delivery delays due to incorrect labels and documentation
  • Rate shopping with contractual partners to select the best carrier service for each shipment according to customer preferences and business rules
  • Identifying and quickly on-boarding new carriers to better leverage last mile services and expand into international markets
  • Using Business Intelligence (BI) tools to identify poor-performing carrier partners

2. Carrier Capacity can be a hot commodity.

Most industry experts expected pandemic-fueled online shopping to increase the pressure on carriers, but few predicted volumes would skyrocket to the point major carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL would stop picking up parcels from major retail customers with “no exceptions” during peak season.

If anything, this underscored how important it is for shippers to build transportation networks that include regional and local carriers and embrace multi-carrier parcel shipping solutions that enable real-time rating and rate shopping across the transportation network. Those who prepared diligently to adopt this model in 2020 prior to peak season, found themselves in a much more manageable position with the ability to consume whatever capacity the major carriers had to offer them and then tap into other carrier services to effectively ship the rest.

3. Omni-channel is omni-critical.

While brick-and-mortar stores were closed for business, merchants had to implement curbside pick-up (BOPIC) and ship-from-store as a solution, often using their stores as additional warehouses. This allowed stores to take the path of least resistance: they could use carrier services to reach nearby consumers quickly or make hand deliveries curbside, eliminating the need for a carrier service altogether. Moving forward, many retailers say they will plan to keep distribution strategies such as ship-from-store and BOPIC in place.

For many shippers, how rapidly and efficiently omnichannel distribution can be accomplished depends on how well mission-critical fulfillment technologies have been integrated within the supply chain. Shippers using standalone systems in their supply chains will confront more challenges. Without connected systems working as one, shippers incur more costs and require more manual labor to fulfill orders. Lacking the inventory visibility and other controls afforded by integrated systems, these shippers cannot deliver the same level of customer service as their high-functioning, agile competitors.

On the other end of the spectrum, shippers with supply chains that are fully integrated benefit from inventory visibility and controls throughout the organization and can quickly augment omnichannel capabilities with specialty software. These merchants require little or no human involvement to deliver hundreds of thousands of parcels daily from either a single distribution center or by deploying ship-from-store, BOPIC, BOPIS, and other innovative fulfillment strategies.

4. Reverse logistics are taking center stage.

With e-commerce on the rise, retailers have been forced to focus on reverse logistics strategies. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2020 e-commerce consumer survey, 76 percent of shoppers reported returning up to a quarter of their online purchases, and 56 percent said a company’s lack of a free returns policy prevented them from making a purchase.

Some companies avoid returns altogether, including many luxury brands, who choose to skip the expense and improve customer service in one motion. E-tailers (sellers with no brick-and-mortar stores) are now increasingly following suit, sometimes telling customers to keep incorrect products and avoid the cost of returns.

For those companies committed to handling returns, however, the best way to mitigate returns costs is by implementing a multi-carrier strategy. Equipping fulfilment teams with multiple carrier services from which to choose and technology that facilitates rate shopping across carrier services will keep costs low and empower teams to work around any carrier service delays or disruptions.

Furthermore, and as stated earlier, the priority is on convenience.  Therefore, all efforts need to be made to ensure returns strategies breed customer loyalty. Forward-thinking organizations who put the customer experience first simplify returns, using dual-use labels (labels that serve the purpose of both the outbound shipment and return) or peel-off labels (where the outbound label easily peels off to expose a return label) and accepting returns of online orders in stores.

5. Carrier services are being redefined.

During the pandemic, Instacart, Postmates, Roadie, Shipt and others became household names, in many cases integrating into retailers’ transportation networks to complement traditional carrier services.

For those watching, it was easy to spot the trend and see that these gig-based delivery services were steadily racking up retail partnerships over the last several years. Many initially scaled through food, grocery, or restaurant, and in 2020, this growth was further hastened by increases in both non-perishable retailer demand and consumer adoption rates.

As companies increasingly ship orders from stores rather than from central distribution centers, we will continue to see growth in services that deliver parcels from stores to local customers – and their increasing inclusion in retail transportation networks. Expanding the carrier network and choosing to work with specialty delivery services empowers retailers to provide a consistent level of service to customers, even when carrier capacity is surging.

Furthermore, employing a multi-carrier shipping system with the ability to integrate with these delivery services will empower retailers by offering both a breadth and depth of choice so they can compare rates, delivery times, etc. between carriers and delivery services. The software provides flexibility when seeking the best way to fulfill any given order, which can be especially helpful when facing capacity limitations.

Supply Chain Disruption Breeds Supply Chain Resilience

2020 reinforced for everyone that when one industry is impacted (like retail), so are countless others (like carriers, 3PLs, and so on) and there are widespread impacts operationally and financially. Savvy supply chain leaders will use their takeaways from 2020 to create more flexible and resilient operations to weather whatever the future has in store.

To learn more about the impact 2020 will have on 2021, watch our webinar: Parcel Shipping Predictions for 2021 and Beyond.

Creating Supply Chain Flexibility for Fast and Efficient Vaccine Distribution

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that things change quickly! It’s been a long year dealing with the ups and downs of COVID-19, but with news in recent weeks promising efficacy rates in vaccine trials and inoculation readiness, the supply chain logistics around vaccine distribution has taken a sudden shift.

FreightWaves reports that distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. could begin as early as December 11. The announcement was made after Pfizer submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency authorization to approve its candidate vaccine, with an application from Moderna for its vaccine candidate also expected soon.

The initial vaccine distribution will be both limited and targeted. For example, once the FDA grants emergency approval, Pfizer has prepared to quickly distribute the coronavirus vaccine with a focus on hospitals, outpatient clinics, community vaccination locations, and pharmacies as some of the first locations to receive the inoculations.

As has been widely reported, Pfizer’s vaccine entails strict cold chain requirements that add a level of complexity to its distribution plans. The pharmaceutical company has specially designed temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilizing dry ice to maintain recommended temperature conditions of -70°C for up to 10 days with the intent to utilize Pfizer-strategic transportation partners to ship by air to major hubs within a country/region and by ground transport to dosing locations.

With such stringent requirements, supply chain leaders involved in critical vaccine distribution need to adopt an agile approach to shipping that allows them to anticipate, adapt, and prioritize within shorter time frames in response to carrier capacity issues and other potential disruptions to the supply environment. The ability to optimize distribution strategies in real time and make smart decisions by quickly comparing distribution scenarios to adapt to ongoing shifts in demand, while mitigating delivery risks will allow logistics experts, pharmaceutical distribution specialists, and global carriers to prepare for any potential hiccups in the process.

To help attune their approach to shipping in today’s fast-changing environment to prepare for quick vaccine distribution, participating organizations should adopt a digitized supply chain established via cloud solutions. Integrating a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) for parcel shipping with their supply chain technology stack can help organizations predict and anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the entire supply chain. This kind of system can provide the data and analytics necessary to detect sub-par logistics performance and uncover opportunities to optimize execution for better outcomes.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainDigitized supply chains provide faster, more accurate, and more flexible solutions than other supply chains. For instance, leveraging a cloud-based TMS for parcel shipping enables shippers to efficiently expand their transportation network and utilize multiple carriers, including regional carriers and last-mile couriers – essential partners to create supply chain flexibility and diversity to help attain the distinctive scale of this crucial endeavor of vaccine distribution.

Contact us to learn more about how Logistyx enables shippers to quickly adjust and respond to even the most complex supply chain scenarios.

Global Supply Chain Considerations for Shipping COVID-19 Vaccine

Typically, prediction precedes preparation, but when it comes to developing a supply chain strategy to distribute life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to global populations, time is of the essence. A recent Crain’s Chicago Business article explored the many challenges that face supply chain professionals responsible for distributing a prospective COVID-19 vaccine and any plans currently in the works.

With dozens of vaccines currently moving quickly through testing phases, supply chain professionals have started exploring methods for shipping life-saving immunizations quickly, safely and cost-effectively. Some of the key considerations for shippers, manufacturers and other industry professionals include:

  • Scale: To effectively combat the virus, a vaccine must be distributed widely to the world’s populations, requiring a global, cross-border shipping strategy. According to Crain’s, it will take approximately 8,000 cargo planes to transport enough vaccines to protect half of the global population – a feat that will require precise coordination from production to delivery. Leveraging multiple carrier services, including local and regional carriers, and experimenting with new delivery modes may be required to attain the global scale of this crucial endeavor.
  • Distribution: The COVID-19 pandemic has put the airline industry in disarray and stymied many large manufacturing hubs, creating numerous supply chain challenges. With this in mind, considerations need to be made for distributing the vaccine to remote, indigent populations that may be harder to reach, which may require special technology and options for flexible last-mile delivery. Drones serve as one option for delivering vaccines to these areas, though getting the medicine to those in need will likely require a mix of transportation modes.
  • Shipping conditions: Transporting vaccines require a complex set of protective measures, including precise refrigeration settings and advanced technology to keep the inoculations intact. To maintain a vaccine’s efficacy, health officials have cited that a temperature setting of 35.6 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit needs to be ensured throughout the shipping process.

While there’s no way to predict the unknown, looking ahead at how COVID-19 vaccines could make their way through the supply chain is a reminder of how complex shipping scenarios can be simplified with the right software. As explored in our recent eBook, React, Recover, Prepare: Future-Proofing Supply Chain Management, moving towards a proactive strategy created with future challenges in mind is a must for supply chain resilience through the pandemic and beyond.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainAs the industry continues to prepare for supply chain challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the race for a vaccine, Logistyx can equip organizations with best-of-breed parcel shipping software to handle even the most multifaceted logistics scenarios, just as we helped Gilead Sciences fast-track the shipping process of its investigational coronavirus treatment.

Contact us today to learn more about how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help increase supply chain agility.

Supply & Demand Chain Executive: An Analytical Approach to COVID-19 Recovery

This year COVID-19 shook the world, including causing major disruptions in the supply chain. The question isn’t whether companies were affected, but how they’ll go about recovering.

For the June 2020 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, Logistyx Vice President of Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Mike Eisner tackled this exact question in an article titled “Supply Chain Analytics Planning for Pandemic Recovery.”

The speed with which retailers had to respond to an evolving supply chain, disrupted retail model, and enhanced e-commerce consumer demands during the pandemic is forcing many retailers to reflect on the systems they use to support their business. Implementation of a global, flexible, multiple carrier parcel platform to support consumer fulfillment requirements is critical. Leveraging this with insights from prescriptive analytics to support strategic decisions and leverage the execution platform is equally critical. Retailers not utilizing these types of technologies are at a competitive disadvantage and will struggle to quickly and accurately make the right decisions affecting their survival.

Mike covers both the supply chain challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and how companies can apply predictive and prescriptive analytics to recover and gird against future disruptions.

Read Mike’s full article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s June 2020 issue: https://issuu.com/supplydemandchainfoodlogistics/docs/0620sdc_digital/34

Supply & Demand Chain Executive: Emerging Technologies in the Supply Chain

Robots. Artificial Intelligence. Automation. Machine Learning. All of these impact the modern supply chain.

For the cover story of Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s June 2020 issue, Brielle Jaekel spoke with industry executives for their insights about “emerging technologies that claim to help companies in the supply chain.” Logistyx President Ken Fleming was among those interviewed and quoted in the article:

Large-scale technology launches can take up to seven years. But, smaller scale activations are what companies look to launch quickly to help increase demand and keep employees safe. Some even say that those who have failed to implement large-scale technology deployments are already too late, since the transition period is so long.

“Many of the supply chain industry’s least desirable common practices are being replaced or circumvented with technology, but it’s almost too late for those that haven’t yet started planning for these transitions considering how long they can take,” says Ken Fleming, president of Logistyx. “With global retail holding companies mapping out 5- to 7-year transition plans and some of the most established U.S. retailers requiring as much as three years or more each time they update their warehouse management system, it’s easy to understand why organizations that haven’t already launched these initiatives would hesitate to go to such lengths to embrace new technologies, become more efficient and better serve customers.”

Going beyond tech adoption challenges, Ken also discusses success stories of adopting automation and technologies that speed up manual processes in both large and small operations, as well as the future role of artificial intelligence in data processing and analysis.

To read the full article, including Ken’s comments, visit Supply & Demand Chain Executive: https://www.sdcexec.com/software-technology/article/21133671/a-smart-supply-chain-is-an-efficient-one

Ken Fleming Shares How to Fuel Supply Chain Resilience with Multi-Carrier Software in Business Chief

With e-commerce demand increasing significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations have sought ways to improve the agility of their supply chains. Logistyx President Ken Fleming recently shared insights with Business Chief on improving supply chain resilience through the use of multi-carrier software. A few key benefits to this approach include:

  • Flexibility – The ability to access multiple carriers centralized within one software database makes pivoting easy, whether that means switching carriers when needed, tapping into a broader last-mile delivery network or streamlining cross-border execution.
  • Customization – The recent spike in e-commerce has increased customers’ ability to select their desired shipping scenario, whether through home delivery; buy online, pick-up in store; drop ship, etc. Multi-carrier shipping software enables shippers to work with multiple carriers’ labeling and communications requirements to meet customers’ delivery demands from within the shipper’s own system.
  • Cost savings – Providing access to a wider variety of carriers and more affordable delivery options can help keep costs in check.
  • Increased trust – By building relationships with reliable carriers, companies can ensure consistent parcel delivery fulfillment leveraging multi-carrier shipping software to provide greater transparency through data used to uncover opportunities to improve performance and reduce costs.

In Ken’s words, “A cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system can give shippers the ability to quickly onboard and optimize new carrier services. This is a game changer in a crisis that requires a retail shipper to suddenly increase capacity, or pivot to a ship-from-store model, for example – or even pull local courier services into the transportation mix to maintain on-time delivery rates.”

Read Ken’s full article on Business Chief: “Multi-carrier: One way to improve supply chain resilience” and drop us a line to learn how you can respond to, and recover more quickly from, unforeseen disruptions by optimizing supply chain operations.

How COVID-19 Will Prepare Supply Chains for the Next Disruption

Global supply chains have historically faced myriad forms of disruption – from weather events… to the Amazon effect… to Brexit… to trade wars… and now to the COVID-19 outbreak. And with each disruption comes ambiguity regarding a) how shippers and customers will be impacted and b) how long the disruption will endure.

ebook logistyx quadrant Choosing a TMS for Parcel ShippingWith regard to COVID-19, the answer to the latter could be grim.  According to Ethan Harris, head of global economic research at Bank of America, “The shock to supply chains is deeper and more sprawling than the trade wars of the past two years and likely to be more prolonged than the storms, earthquakes, or floods that have been a source of stress for major industries in the past.”  Oxford economics echoes this prognostication, estimating the COVID-19 outbreak will cost the global economy $1.1 trillion.  And Dun & Bradstreet similarly weigh in, predicting approximately 5 million businesses around the world could be impacted.

Unfortunately, our early observations here at Logistyx are in line with these statistics.  We’re seeing multiple industry sectors impacted in some way, and we’re finding the reactions to these impacts fall into one of three categories:

1. React

Companies have had to react to the epidemic because they were unprepared. They either have urgent PCR activity to support their supply chain operations or have implemented cash conservation measures until clarity with respect to the longevity of the situation is better defined.

2. Recover

Companies are planning for recovery after the pandemic.  Current estimates project we will begin to see relief in Q3, and companies are preparing now on two key supply chain fronts:
a) Re-establishing supply chain projects and activities, and
b) Navigating a very short preparation window for Peak Season.

3. Prepare

Some companies are already establishing programs to prepare for the impact of another unforeseen situation.  Unplanned downtime is being used to strategize how to minimize future disruptions, some of which includes Disaster Recovery Plan and Continuity Plan upgrades, increasing carrier access and connectivity, cloud-based system upgrades, and increasing supply chain visibility programs with Control Tower applications.

Retailers Prepare Now to Return to Normal Later

Currently, Logistyx is managing an influx of requests to support companies in the Recover and Prepare stages.  The vast majority of retailers in particular are aware a 100% focus on the immediate situation may have unfortunate consequences once the world exits lock down and returns to something approaching normal. In fact, we have many retailers going through system upgrades now, so they are not impacted later during Q3/Q4 Peak.

In addition to taking steps today to successfully navigate a compressed timeframe for Peak planning, many retailers are also considering that consumer behavior may change forever.  Let’s face it: even the most ecommerce-phobic consumer may place their first grocery order online to avoid crowds, be satisfied with the experience, and emerge from this pandemic a convert.  Online retailers will of course benefit enormously, and channel strategies for legacy retailers and brands will need to radically shift as a result if they are to survive. Retailers that quickly identify what this means for their supply chain and technology infrastructure and pivot their channel strategies accordingly will gain a competitive edge.

Cloud Technology Decreases Supply Chain Risk

In addition, we are receiving a number of requests from manufacturers, retailers, and 3PLs alike looking to digitize supply chain management and move as much of their technology stack as possible to the cloud.  The goal is to improve the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of their supply chains by building a single source of truth, and a digitized supply chain improves a company’s ability to anticipate risk, improve transparency and coordination across the supply chain, and manage the issues that arise from increasing complexity.  Retailers, for example, with the digital technology necessary to flex omnichannel fulfillment muscles such as ship-to-store, order pickup, and ship-from-store, have been ahead of the game this go-round, and others are learning from their example and positioning themselves accordingly for the next disruption.

Control Tower Improves Transparency

Finally, many companies are leveraging Control Tower technology to track potential delivery disruptions and share information easily. By improving the visibility of a product’s journey from warehouse to consumer, or store to consumer, or even store to store, they’ve found they’re in a better position to pre-empt delivery delays and communicate real-time information with customers, preserving brand loyalty during this unusual time.

Furthermore, Control Tower and Business Intelligence technology also normalizes shipping data and enables quick, real-time analysis.  Companies can look at their transportation costs in a deeper way and inform decision making.  For example, rate shopping – critical functionality at a time when surcharges are increasing – can be executed quickly and without an intense reliance on human resources.  Instead of scrambling at the last minute, companies have a lot of information at their fingertips within minutes of a potential disruption.

Act Today on COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruptions

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has most companies making substantial modifications to their supply chains to avoid disruptions. The long-term question is: what lessons will they learn?  According to Sunil Chopra, a professor of operations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, “There is a human tendency to basically think bad things will not happen if they have not happened for a while.  So if it has been a year or two since the last rare event, we start thinking, ‘Oh, that’ll never happen.’ But the biggest mistake that we can make is to severely underestimate the probability of it happening.”

For more information about how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help you prepare for the next supply chain disruption, contact us today.