U.S. Logistics Feats During the Holidays

Could your company  hire 95,000 part time workers within 90 days?

by Jim Pettinger, President of UCanTrade, Inc.

According to an article in USA Today, UPS will be hiring an additional 95,000 seasonal workers this holiday shopping season, and FedEx will add 50,000. In addition, major retailers such as Walmart, Target and Macy’s will also be hiring in the tens of thousands. Not to mention Amazon. These are some of America’s great companies that routinely accomplish astounding feats of logistics every day. At UCanTrade, we’re just happy to play a small part in this dynamic and rewarding industry.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

The impact of e-commerce on truck manufacturing.

There’s little doubt digital online buying – a.k.a. the ‘Amazon Effect’, is impacting traditional retailers, especially since Walmart has stepped up to the plate to compete with Amazon in this competitive e-commerce space.  While consumers enjoy the benefits of their e-commerce ‘warfare’, another dynamic to the ‘Amazon Effect’ being brought into the forefront is truck and trailer manufacturing.

The supply procedure of any online purchase is run ‘not as a marathon but rather as a relay,’ says Bruce Sauer, of Truck/Body Builder. Adding, “Track coaches typically assign their fastest, most reliable runner to anchor the final leg of the race. It’s where many relays are won and lost”. His clever analogy highlights the importance and emphasis supply chain management and 3PL (third party logistics) companies are putting on the ‘final mile’ – the shipping, handling and delivery phase, of any e-commerce order.  Retailers need to be paying attention too.

Delivery vehicles are being re-designed to have better maneuverability at distribution and fulfillment centers moving away from full truckload models to more ‘metro-friendly freight patterns.’  Additionally, vehicles will likely be lighter and also get better gas mileage; ‘optimized’ so as to maximize cargo space and keep drivers comfortable, safe and able to conduct their job most efficiently. E-commerce has created a ‘trucking revolution’ that has really only just begun.

Since the physical size of the United States remains enormous, trailers will remain to play a vital role says Brent Yeagy, president and chief operating officer at Wabash National, a leading producer of commercial trucking equipment.  However, “E-commerce is not linear,” Yeagy says, “It’s growing exponentially. And its implications for the trucking industry promise to be more disruptive than 99% of us can even fathom at this point.”

Consumer expectations are also a big influencer. AlixPartners, LLP recently found in their 2016 Consumer Shipping Survey, seventy-five percent of e-commerce consumers are ‘greatly impacted’ by free shipping when they are making purchasing decisions. ‘Free and fast’ are what consumers expect and this expectation is another reason delivery vehicle manufacturers are rethinking their designs.

Simply put, a consumers’ last impression of a retailer is based upon their interaction with the ‘delivery company’.  An all out effort to streamline the supply chain down to redefining the design of the delivery truck, are underway.  Ultimately, consistent and reliable order fulfillment and delivery are imperative to any successful e-commerce retailer’s sustainability – especially in the competitive U.S. market.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: Alix Partners, LLP article: “Final-Mile Delivery: What Do Online Shoppers Want? And How Should Retailers and Their Logistics Partners Respond?”)

(Source: Truck/Body Builder, “How the shipping model of e-commerce is impacting truck body and trailer manufacturers –the ‘Amazon effect’ of fast, free shipping re-routes truck body/trailer builders’ thinking”.)

Omnichannel Consumer

Evolving beyond ‘multi-channel retailing’, omnichannel is all about creating ‘a seamless consumer experience’ and is being called ‘the future of retail’.

A recent survey from the Harvard Business Review states omnichannel consumers are “shoppers who engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints” adding “[they] are driving boosts in conversion rates both online and offline” making them one of the most if not, THE most valuable consumer in the retail market.  One of the reasons they’re so valuable is because consumers shopping from multiple resources versus from just one allows multiple opportunities to buy.  Further, the survey reportedly states, “[omnichannel consumers have] become increasingly reliant on more than one channel to aid in their purchasing decisions.”  Therefore, consumers are getting to know brands and establishing their loyalties across these multiple digital and in-person channels as well.

The phenomenon is forcing retailers – both traditional brick-and-mortar stores as well as e-commerce merchants, to supply multiple (digital) shopping tools in order to attract ‘the larger audience’.  In the case of the ‘physical retailers’, it’s in their best interest to invest in multiple digital omnichannel tools as well as their online counterparts since digitally promoting ‘in-store visits’ has been proven to increase foot traffic into stores.

It’s becoming more and more apparent Business to Consumer (B2C) companies must consider an omnichannel marketing strategy but one significant factor in their marketing strategies often overlooked is logistics.  “You can’t have marketing without logistics,” says Jim Pettinger, president of UCanTrade, Inc.

Recall that at the center of any omnichannel approach is the consumer.  Retailers (physical &/or online) need to plan for a ‘seamless consumer experience’.  They need to ensure an easy shopping experience – products are easily found, ordering & payment transactions are simple and smooth; the consumer receives what they ordered intact, quickly and can return it just as easily if they change their mind.

Companies using off-shore manufacturers need to plan cost-effective, customer centric product and packaging designs.  In a time where consumer expectations are high, ecommerce is exploding and dimensional shipping is the norm, partnering with an expert in international shipping and handling can be invaluable. (Related article:  E-Commerce returns – Tips to reduce costs)
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source: http://omnichannel.me/what-is-omnichannel/http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-omnichannel-consumers-are-more-valuable-2017-1)

A Logistics Revolution?

U.S. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the official beginning of America’s holiday shopping season and with it comes what we in supply chain management refer to as reverse logistics – better known as returns!

Based on data from the U.S. Commerce Department, online sales represent 11% of 2016 retail sales and are expected to increase by 20% more over the next 5 years.  Exacerbated by the increase in online demand, order fulfillment centers are being forced to rethink their ‘efulfillment’ procedures – how to meet online consumer demand as well as how they handle reverse logistics / returns, reports Supply Chain Digest.  Retail chains Macy’s and JC Penny reportedly both had ‘major store closures’ during 2016 due to merchandise handling issues.

One FedEx representative, Jonathan Radar says, “Ecommerce is standing [the Logistics] industry on its ear” due to high consumer expectations – “I want it here, I want it there, and I want it now.”  Voxware, a service provider of cloud based solutions for distribution operators, conducted a survey supporting this statement.  Voxware’s president Keith Phillips claims their survey revealed “online shoppers, especially during the four days surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, place the same if not higher demands on distribution operations for fast and accurate delivery as during any other time of the holiday season.”

Large fulfillment companies are challenged to meet this demand.  “There is the emerging trend of small urban warehouses,” says Radar, “developed to speed local deliveries now often made in just a matter of hours.”  The returns issue and how to handle it though remains ever evolving.  (Related article: “Return to Sender” – What’s Your Policy?).

Smaller third party logistics partners (3PL) like UCanTrade, Inc. can bridge the gap between etailer and consumer by providing the hands-on attention to detail required to insure order accuracy and timely deliveries while also handling returns, repairs, or re-stocking issues.  (Related Article: Six Eyes On Every Box). They’re better equipped to fulfill the order supply chain ‘from the consumer back’.

Learn more about UCanTrade, Inc.’s U.S.A. Business and Logistics Services – visit our Website, subscribe to our Newsletter for latest trade news and events and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

(Source Article Links: Early Shoppers have higher fulfillment expectations and MHI Conference Panel Recap – Focus on Supply Chain and Consumer)