2021 is the year of the comeback. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales are expected to grow this year between 6.5% and 8.2%, amounting to more than $4.33 trillion in sales. And with Q1 2021 on the books, retailers are now preparing for their peak season(s) by fine-tuning their rebound strategies, shifting their technology to embrace transformation and avoid last year’s challenges. Four key priorities to transform parcel shipping include:
1. Adopting a Cloud First Mindset
In 2018, Gartner predicted more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending would be affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022, a prediction that is now proving true across the Logistyx customer base. Retailers are quickly discovering how cloud-based solutions offer a clearer view into all areas of the supply chain, increasing access to data to make better business decisions and seamlessly connecting people, processes, and third parties to operations in real time. As a result, they’re prioritizing cloud adoption and migration projects with a fair amount of urgency.
Cloud-based shipping technology enhances the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of supply chains, empowering all users to execute, track, and analyze parcel shipping processes in a single solution. This improves reaction time, collaboration, and decision-making accuracy when the unexpected occurs, whether with a single customer order or because an event impacts the entire supply chain. During the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, retailers with cloud shipping systems had the necessary visibility and agility to move inventory and convert temporarily-shuttered retail stores into distribution centers, keeping staff employed and meeting a ballooning demand to ship goods and sell store inventory.
Cloud systems also offer a much lower total cost of ownership, are simpler to implement, provide more robust data security than most retailers can themselves, and require no ongoing internal IT support. Many retailers have approached Logistyx for cloud multi-carrier shipping systems because, “We want the benefits of multi-carrier shipping technology, but we don’t want to be in the IT business.”
2. Integrating Cloud Technology and Building a Supply Chain Ecosystem
When the shipping execution process is seamlessly integrated with the total fulfillment workflow in the cloud, new automation opportunities appear that bear substantial cost savings. Therefore, many retailers have identified seamless integration between a cloud multi-carrier shipping system and systems such as e-commerce, WMS, OMS, and ERP as a crux capability.
For example, with an integrated supply chain technology stack, retailers reduce fulfillment costs by reducing the number of times a product is manually handled throughout the fulfillment process. The final pack, inspection, weigh, and release are accomplished with only one bar code scan. And an integrated supply chain technology stack means shipments can be executed throughout an enterprise regardless of multiple shipping origins and/or multiple modes of transportation. With a single database and single-user interface, the system enables rating and routing rules to be set for all locations.
Finally, once a cloud-based supply chain technology ecosystem is in place, retailers can increase the speed of information flows within the organization, making it easy to set and measure corporate KPIs, compare and contrast historical information of multiple-mode shipping transactions occurring across multi-location shipping origins, and identify efficiencies and opportunities to optimize order fulfillment.
3. Normalizing Agility
In 2020, some retailers were able to demonstrate their ability to respond to a crisis with impressive agility. Now, more retailers are looking to make agility a permanent state of mind, whether in transportation planning or in execution, and they are turning to cloud multi-carrier shipping systems to give leaders quick and easy access to the data they need to continuously adapt, prioritize, and realign. A cloud multi-carrier shipping system is the connective tissue between inventory locations, carriers, and enterprise systems, linking and presenting data and insights from disparate systems to key decision makers at the right time. A centralized platform becomes the source of truth for all order fulfillment information and the fuel for data-driven decisions—the basis of making agility not just a crisis response, but a steady state.
4. Partnering with Vendors to Achieve Transformation
Partnering with the right technology providers underpins transformation success. Retailers are looking to Identify technology providers that are forward-thinking, with product roadmaps that reflect a visionary mindset. They want partners who are willing to have conversations about what their organizations are really trying to achieve and the technology they need to get there. The right partner can offer long-term strategies and solutions for:
- Meeting changing customer expectations
- Quickly responding to new product and service requirements
- Leaning on extended, multi-tier partner and carrier networks that offer more flexibility and savings
- Identifying inefficiencies and areas of opportunity through complete shipping operations visibility
- Creating an agile logistics infrastructure that withstands complex supply chain issues
- Using data analytics to support strategies, innovation, and growth
Find the Right Partner to Transform Your Parcel Shipping
For retailers worldwide, now is the time to solve problems and execute transformation. The journey requires the right mindset and the right technology. Get started today with our Quick Guide: Critical Capabilities of a TMS for Parcel Shipping.