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Meeting Supply Chain Expectations

Posted by Land Link on Oct 25, 2018 2:52:50 PM

With the rise of Amazon, Uber, and home IoT products, consumer expectations for real-time visibility and connectivity have never been higher. These trends are morphing over from the consumer industry to the B2B sector. Consumers’ experiences are now driving their professional expectations, and this is driving modernization across every industry, perhaps none more so than supply chain. Today manufacturers are investing in digital supply chain technologies that enable total visibility, from end to end. With global IoT tracking and big data analytics, 3 PL's will become a valuable resource which can rise to the challenge of today’s heightened consumer expectations, delivering an experience on par with and even surpassing the consumer and B2B expectations.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Big Data, Logistics News

How Technology is Affecting Retail

Posted by Land Link on Oct 11, 2018 9:30:55 AM

When it comes to technology in the retail consumer market Wal-Mart is among the lead dogs. When it comes to imaginative, if not bizarre ideas, they may be the lead dog. A Walmart patent application for a biometric feedback shopping cart handle was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, CBInsights reports. The cart handles could track the heart rates, body temperatures and stress levels of customers, possibly averting serious health issues in the stores.

Although I have no doubt Wal-Mart is sincere in safeguarding the general health of its shoppers you've got to ask yourself, what is the real motivation here. What data are they looking to farm? Will the cart sensors measure an interest level in a particular item?. Perhaps feedback on sales promotions. It has to be linked to business. Plain and simple. Why else do it? If so, it doesn't make them the bad guy. It does make sense to integrate customer purchasing habits to their general health. It's good practice to keep the golden geese healthy. Whatever the motivation for this creative approach to shopper habits it's going to have some effect on supply chain management. Logistics professionals are going to need to educate themselves on the new technologies and prepare their practices accordingly. After all, some of this stuff just may yield some unanticipated affects on supply and demand.

Whether the retailer ultimately implements such a costly system companywide is an open question. The patent application says the data would not be linked to specific shoppers. "It is noted that the biometric data and the cart movement data collected during the use of the shopping cart is not tied or otherwise linked to the identity of the individual customer," the company said in its patent application. But this does raise the question of whether this technology might prove too creepy or invasive for customers already concerned about privacy.

Robots In The Aisles

Lowes is testing robots to act as customer service liaisons to aid in customers' searches for whatever they may have visited the store for. I like the idea. I usually have problems finding an educated individual to help me. The upside is the robots will tell you exactly where to find what you're looking for. The downside is the robot lacks the extensive experience that a lot of the Lowes and Home Depot employees have. It's common for semi-retired contractors to work at the major home repair retail outlets and have extensive experience that they're more than willing to share with the novice plumber or whatever your project. The robot will, however, email or text a link to info from a Google search or a YouTube video to help with your project. "LoweBot", as the robot is called, will add a layer of support to amplify the trusted advice of Lowe’s employees as it helps customers with simple questions, enabling more time for employees to focus on delivering project expertise and personalized service. Having the ability to scan inventory and capture real-time data with LoweBot will also help detect patterns or gaps that will ultimately influence business decisions. From a supply chain perspective, robotic customer service applications may not affect the supply chain planning a great deal since the inventory data pretty much starts at the register it's still pretty cool. A much better use of retail technology than the universally despised "self-checkout" kiosk. Someone someday is gonna take one of those out with a large caliber armament. I'm sure of it.

High Supply Chain Efficiency

The present-day customer tends to have a ‘buy-now’ mindset and expects a faultless service through the entire life-cycle of the order. An annual study published in the Future of Retail 2016, shares that in recent times customers expect seamless and quick shipping, delivery, exchanges, and returns from e-commerce firms. Consequently, retailers need to focus on improving their customers’ shopping experience rather than merely increasing their customer base.
Retail technology is helping e-retailers improve their supply chain and logistics using the lean methodology to streamline these processes and eliminate inefficient operations.

A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers. Supply chain practices such as cross docking, direct delivery to stores, real-time delivery, third-party logistics, and cross-functional integration are playing a major role in making the business processes more efficient. Logistics and Omnichannel order orchestration offer retailers data on real-time orders, inventory visibility, order aggregation and fulfillment, and customer service, enabling them to optimize their supply chain systems.

Cross-Channel Purchases

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2016, 38% of all purchases are made through multiple channels. Technology and social media are central to Omnichannel shopping. Shoppers are conducting online product research using mobile applications and going through social media ratings, online customer reviews, brand promotion videos, and product photographs submitted by other users. Consequently, shoppers use multiple channels to make a decision, selecting the products and services with fluidity. In order to ensure consistent profits, e-commerce retailers must improve their digital presence across a variety of channels.

Retail technology is revolutionizing online shopping by enabling businesses to adopt innovative ways to engage their customers. Keeping up with this tech will separate the leaders from the laggards. Stay informed on these and many other technology applications that are right around the corner. To stay informed subscribe to our blog www.Land-Link.com. As always, if you have any questions on how today's technology will affect your supply chain please contact one of our Logistics professionals. 

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Topics: Big Data, Industry Trends

The Digital Supply Chain Defined

Posted by Land Link on Aug 15, 2018 4:25:36 PM

This article is yet another dose of enlightenment on our technology series to keep our clients informed on the pace and direction of supply chain industry standards. Previously we have discussed the importance and applications of Blockchain technologies and IoT (the Internet of Things) in logistics and supply chain management. These technologies are transforming the way we do business. To stay up to date and competitive we must stay informed. The issue is most of this stuff is so new and so dynamically changing that keeping up is a challenge for most of us from the old school way we’ve been managing transportation for decades. We have some catching up to do in a hurry.

Digital Supply Chain Defined

I always insist my readers have a firm understanding of our discussion topic. To that end; A Digital Supply chain is defined as A digital supply chain is a supply chain whose foundation is built on Web-enabled capabilities. Many supply chains use a mix of paper-based and IT-enabled processes. A true digital supply chain goes far beyond this hybrid model to fully capitalize on connectivity, system integration and the information-producing capabilities of "smart" components.

Digital Supply Chain 101

Ultimately, virtually every aspect of business will be transformed through the vertical integration of research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales, and other internal operations, and new business models based on today’s advances. In effect, we are evolving toward the complete digital ecosystem. If you recall from our blogs on Blockchain technology and IoT. The common thread of these and other emerging technologies in the web-based component which allows for inter-connectivity and sharing of real-time information. The days of fax transitions and telephone calls are all but extinct. Email may survive but will likely be phased out in favor of peer to peer communication. Peer to peer communication is a direct connection between users operating on a shared platform bypassing the delay of email or analog communication.

What To Expect

So, the race is on. Companies across industries are already investing heavily to develop their own versions of the DSC. According to a recent PwC study on the rise of Industry 4.0, a third of the more than 2,000 respondents say their companies have started to digitize their supply chains, and fully 72 percent expect to have done so five years from now.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Big Data, Technology

The White House Is Getting Aggressive to Answer the Call for More Qualified Truck Drivers

Posted by Land Link on Jul 18, 2018 11:14:58 AM

Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program to permit 18-to-20-year-olds who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce. The Trucking industry has been struggling to meet driver demand for the last 20 years.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Transportation News, Big Data

How Retailers Plan to Meet Increasing Delivery Demands of Consumers

Posted by Land Link on Jul 3, 2018 4:19:20 PM

There seems to be no end to the demand for nearly instant delivery gratification of today's consumer. Interestingly, price doesn't seem to water down their desire to have what they ordered on their doorstep as soon as possible. In response, retailers are betting big on delivery services to drop off packages faster. Current delivery services are pretty much maxed out on capacity. Just last week Amazon announce it would form its own fleet of delivery vans, in addition to their existing fleet of trucks and planes, that would be operated by independent contractors to compliment, and eventually replace, current transportation providers.

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Topics: Shipping News, Industry Trends, Big Data

A Glimpse into the Future of Transportation

Posted by Land Link on Jun 13, 2018 9:29:43 AM

There are several developing factors refining the world of freight transportation as we currently know it. Technology in the form of ELDs is forcing fleet managers to become more scientific in the management of their assets. The apparently insatiable appetite for immediate gratification from the millennials will force carriers to improve speed to market. This will likely put pressure on trucking companies to better integrate their small parcel and LTL operations so local distribution centers can concentrate on meeting on time final mile deliveries. Data engineering will be at the forefront of everything that goes on in supply chains. Data engineering, according to Dr. Michael Watson of Northwestern University, is "the art and science of blending data from multiple sources, automatically cleaning and filtering the data, and transforming the data to be useful for analysis."  You may have heard the term "Big Data" referring to the volumes of pertinent data accumulated from various sources along the supply chain. This big data will be the source of information in the data engineering process. Another term you've likely heard is IoT or The Internet of Things. The IoT is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other items embedded with advanced electronics capable of exchanging data with a central computer over the internet.  

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Topics: Big Data, Industry Trends, Maximizing Routing Efficiencies, Transportation News

Technology and Big Data: What Shippers and Logistics Professionals Need to Know

Posted by Land Link on May 23, 2018 12:16:36 PM

Perhaps more than most other industries shippers and logistics companies seem to be late to the table when it comes to implementing technology. I know some carriers who operated without a website well in to the 90's. This tardiness to implement that technology which everyone else has adopted may eventually lead to their economic demise. The ability to provide big data driven information and the ability to protect that data have become a critical requirement. Some companies are finding themselves unqualified to bid on contracts if they cannot provide the data and technology required by customers.

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Topics: Big Data, Industry Trends, Logistics News

Keys to Transitioning to A Digital Supply Chain

Posted by Land Link on May 16, 2018 3:03:16 PM

According to industry experts the biggest weapon a company must have to outperform its competitors over the next 3 years is the Digital Supply Chain. The DSC will dramatically improve revenue and reduce costs while delighting customers. There is little disagreement among logistics professionals that this is the direction supply chain technology is moving. The sheer magnitude of data involved in logistics transactions simply requires digitization for the effective management of the information and efficient operations. So, if we're all in agreement regarding the direction of our industry now is the time for shippers and transportation providers to implement the necessary protocols and personnel to be adequately prepared for the transition to digital based logistics technology. Let's examine the theory behind the DSC and what needs to be done to make the transition.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Supply Chain Management, Big Data

The Trump Tariff Plan Explored

Posted by Land Link on Apr 25, 2018 10:06:41 AM

President Trump’s planned trade tariffs effect mainly imported steel and aluminum. Let's take a moment to explore the details of the tariffs and what consequences we can expect.

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Topics: Industry Trends, Supply Chain Management, Big Data

Big Data is Increasingly Critical in 3rd Party Logistics

Posted by Steve on Nov 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM

The term "Big Data" is a recent buzz word in the logistics industry. In its simplest sense, the term refers to the analysis of massive amounts of data to retrieve information that may be applied to improve operational efficiencies. Let's take a look at how Big Data is being applied to the Logistics industry. 

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Topics: Big Data