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Recovering Economy Accelerates Technology Implementations as Supply Chains Evolve

The COVID-19 pandemic stifled supply chains across many industries, with shipping capacity strain, carrier surcharges, the pressures of meeting changing customer demands, and other challenges pushing many organizations to their limits. While technology has the power to minimize the impact of pandemics, weather events, and other disruptions on supply chains, the economic downturn of 2020 led some organizations to cut budgets or pause technology implementations altogether.

Thankfully, many economic indicators now suggest a full U.S. recovery is already underway, and to prepare, some of these same organizations have begun to restart or accelerate technology implementations to improve their agility and flexibility. Efforts to digitize supply chains, migrate supply chains to the cloud, or boost omnichannel offerings for example, improve their readiness for the coming growth and ahead of the next disruption.

FedEx Chief Economist Tim Mullaly presented many positive economic indicators during the 2021 FedEx Compatible Envision annual conference, including the highlights that follow.

Real GDP Forecast - Dip in Q1 2020 and rises into CY22-Q1
A full recovery of GDP is expected in Q2 2021.

Gross domestic product (GDP) indicates the monetary value of goods and services made during a particular period and is often used to estimate an economy’s size or growth rate. According to data from FedEx Corporate Economics included in the chart below, U.S. GDP is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021 and continue growing at an impressive rate through at least 2022.

Industrial Production Manufacturing headed down but Real Personal Consumption Expenditures Goods will rise
Demand for goods has risen sharply while production has lagged.

Reflecting many of the previously mentioned supply chain challenges of 2020, U.S. manufacturing production plummeted in the early days of the pandemic. Although it has since recovered some, overall production fell over the course of 2020 despite consumer spending increasing as much as 12 percent over the same period following a similar dip in the early days of the pandemic.

Manufacturing and Wholesale dropped significantly in 2020 but are both rebounding
Manufacturing and wholesale are catching up to retail sales.

Retail sales more than recovered in 2020. In 2021, supply chains and manufacturing capacity should continue to increase to create greater capacity for economic growth.

Drewry East-West Air Freight Index has steadily decreased since 2014 but spiked in 2020 and is now maintaining higher levels
The price to move goods internationally has increased sharply to historic heights.

Much like the carrier capacity constraints of 2020 that made shipping parcels difficult, international shipping costs also rose sharply. While air cargo prices increased as pictured below, the World Container Index Freight Rate composite reported that container shipping rates grew even faster (below).

World Container Index Freight Rate Composite had never reached 1,000 since 2014 but spiked in 2020 to over 5,000

Shippers take steps to minimize impact of persistent fulfillment challenges

The economic recovery directly impacts parcel shipping, especially as demand drives up carrier rates even as carriers add capacity. Manufacturers, retailers, and third-party logistics (3PL) providers continue to face immense pressure to distribute high volumes of products across significant distances faster than ever. Organizations seeking to contain costs while meeting rising customer expectations need meaningful insights into their shipping processes more than ever; parcel shipping technology with business intelligence can produce these insights and streamline operations to expedite speed and service while containing costs.

To effectively navigate the rise in e-commerce and consumers’ increasing same-day/next-day delivery expectations as the economy roars back, now is the perfect time for organizations to move their new or stalled technology projects forward and invest in parcel shipping technology. Efforts to increase fulfillment flexibility now position shippers well for the likely surges and disruptions that lie ahead.

A cloud multi-carrier shipping system simplifies complex parcel transportation management processes by providing easy access to tools such as multi-carrier rating, rate shopping, delivery tracking, returns, business analytics, and more – all in a single solution. For shippers with a global footprint, a cloud multi-carrier shipping system provides guaranteed label and documentation compliance with global carriers, while also enabling consolidated shipping to cut costs and increase efficiency by combining shipments headed to the same geographic area.

As businesses look to meet demand for goods, fulfill soaring numbers of online orders, and quickly ship high volumes through their parcel carrier networks, implementing a cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system enables shippers to accelerate integration processes with enterprise and third-party software applications to realize a return on investment quickly. For example, Logistyx’s cloud-based multi-carrier shipping system can connect shippers to a network of 550+ global carriers, empowering shippers with the most comprehensive rate shopping capabilities and providing the optimal transportation formula for each parcel shipped.

Cloud-based parcel shipping technology enables businesses to dynamically manage growth and effectively navigate unexpected events or surges in demand by allowing them to seamlessly scale shipping volumes. Whether a business requires basic labeling and execution or worldwide omnichannel order fulfillment analytics, cloud-based fulfillment technology can provide the technical capabilities to handle parcel shipping from start to finish in any shipping landscape.

Advancing investments in parcel shipping technology today will not only help companies take advantage of the economic recovery currently underway, but enable long-term scalability, profitability, and efficiency.

Contact us today to learn how parcel shipping technology can help you effectively meet your global shipping needs and take advantage of this moment of economic growth.