May 09, 2018

Surfing the Wave

‘Survey says’ 40 percent anticipate parcel delivery in two hours by 2028.
Disruptions to the supply chain of yesterday are coming at us faster than, well, products on an Amazon delivery line.
With e-commerce projected to generate roughly $4.5 trillion in retail sales by 2021, U.S. warehouse facilities won’t be able to keep up with fulfillment needs, claims Zebra Technologies in its Future of Fulfillment Vision Study, reported in Supply Chain 24/7. The average age of a warehouse in this country is 34 years, the survey says, with low ceilings, uneven floors and tight spaces, as well as a lack of technology to speed goods through it. 

In response to today’s online-buying, smartphone-wielding consumer who expects a seamless, faster purchasing journey, the study said 78 percent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023, and 40 percent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028. Of surveyed retailers, 76 percent use store inventory to fill online orders, and 86 percent plan to implement buy online/pick up in store in the next year. Retailers are investing in retrofitting stores to double as online fulfillment centers and shrinking selling space to accommodate e-commerce pickups and returns. 

Next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions adding newfound speed, precision and cost-effectiveness to transportation and labor. Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones, driverless/autonomous vehicles, robotics, and wearable and mobile technology. 

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow by 49 percent in the next few years, offering item-level inventory lookup, improving shopper satisfaction and reducing out of stocks, overstocks, and replenishment errors.
The automated supply chain wave is coming, and shippers have two choices – surf it or be swamped.

Kirk Shearer
President & COO
(973) 726-2103

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