In today’s digital supply chain era, market-leading shippers in North America are racing to adapt to the growing need for the speed, choice, precision, agility and visibility required to satisfy end customers. Responding to multi-modal and omni-channel demands for the rapid flow of goods, forward-thinking supply chain leaders are leveraging advanced analytics, robust supply chain technology and expertise in domestic (Parcel, LTL, Truckload) and international flows to control and optimize complex networks. Many shippers with traditional, less resilient supply chain infrastructures are experiencing exponential pressure to fill the gaps.
In particular, the accelerated growth of small package, parcel, express shipments (covered in the 2016 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Annual State of Logistics Report for the first time in 27 years) and heavy home delivery highlights the changing burden for shippers organized to operate in a very different system.
This rapid growth is a product of the booming e-commerce realm where the new reality shifts the customer to the pinnacle of the marketplace and requires visibility from domestic or foreign loading docks to the last mile delivery. With the expanding Internet of Things and a growing tendency to widen direct business-to-customer channels, a flexible, adaptive supply chain becomes increasingly important.
Today’s supply chain disruptions challenge the sustainability of shippers incapable of providing broad, analytics-based multi-modal and omni-channel solutions. As ongoing macroeconomic trends limit growth opportunities for many segments, businesses increasingly are evaluating their current state and developing strategies to achieve a future state of improved operational performance through enterprise value chain solutions.
Many growth-focused companies are implementing LEAN-based continuous process improvements while looking to mitigate operational, financial and strategic risks. From the back room to the boardroom, the supply chain is receiving more executive attention than ever to keep up with change. Shippers by the thousands are collaborating with Enterprise Logistics Providers to deliver predictive analytics needed to fuel expansion through reductions in logistics-related costs, optimizations in omni-channel fulfillment and improvements in customer delivery experiences.
Partnering to Navigate New Challenges
With no end in sight to e-commerce dominance, successful omni-channel supply chain management is expected to remain a prerequisite for survival. Many shippers find they lack resources to build the required skills quickly enough to nimbly shift from international conveyance to LTL shipment to parcel delivery in an efficient, economical way.
With new challenges on the horizon, innovative logistics providers are seeing a demand surge as companies seek a strategic partner and technology enabler to design and deliver integrated solutions such as multi-modal domestic transportation sourcing, international logistics management, transportation management system (TMS) applications, supply chain analytics and other services to help clients adapt. Beyond traditional freight optimization, shippers seek to enhance operations in all modes, including parcel shipping with advanced analytics to improve network alignment and create value for the end customer. Bundled solutions can close the loop on end-to-end supply chain visibility. Not surprisingly, companies looking to accelerate competencies are choosing to buy versus build supply chain services to adapt exponentially faster and understand total cost to serve B2C and B2B customers to make better, quicker business decisions.
E-commerce revenue is expected to double by 2020. Many businesses focused on fulfilling customer demands in the last-mile/last-minute realm are feverishly adjusting internally to this reality—or are teaming with a logistics provider capable of implementing those changes for them. Competitive agility and adaptability through parcel logistics optimization, parcel auditing, advanced parcel shipping analytics, heavy home delivery and LTL and Truckload optimization help shippers win the multi-modal, omni-channel race to the customer.
Rick Brumett is VP of Client Solutions at Transportation Insight and a recognized supply chain thought leader. With 30 years’ industry experience, Brumett has expert-level knowledge of global transportation networks, warehousing and retail distribution. Transportation Insight is an Enterprise Logistics Provider offering end-to-end services including Parcel, LTL and Truckload solutions, technology, big data, supply chain optimization, Extended LEAN® value chain strategy and more. In the 3PL/4PL marketplace, Transportation Insight’s intellectual capital and Co-managed Logistics® style of client service have helped the company earn a reputation among clients as an expertise multiplier. The company blends transformational solutions with client expertise to enable North American shippers to accelerate change and grow faster than the competition.