Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

Business to Business E-Commerce Logistics: 8 Statistics to Think About

The barrage of home runs that were hit during the late 90’s was a result of batters having extra power.  The era of PEDs changed the way fans think about baseball and changed the way the game is played.  In the NFL, new rules to increase safety for players have also changed the way this sport is played.  With more protective rules for quarterbacks, scores have risen and defenses have been forced to adapt in order to avoid penalties.  These are two examples where shifts in control and power have altered the state of competition.  The same is very true in the world of business-to-business e-commerce.  Consumers have never had more power than they do right now, and there are no signs of that slowing down.  These 8 facts support the changing landscape of e-commerce retail and how you can play by these new rules.

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Spark Plug Fulfillment Solutions: Managing the Automotive Supply Chain

Spark plugs are essential to the internal combustion engine.  This is the element that ignites the fuel and air mixture within the cylinders, creating the, well, spark, that keeps your car moving down the road.  However, spark plugs are components of your vehicle that will wear and eventually need to be replaced, otherwise you could be stranded.  Just as the maintenance of your car’s spark plugs can keep it running and healthy for years, your order fulfillment and logistics processes may also be due for a check-up; otherwise new consumer demands and market challenges could leave your supply chain sputtering.

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The Weatherproof Supply Chain: Why it’s Important

Whether your business is worldwide, nationwide or regional, weather is going to have a major impact on your supply chain.  Right now the northeast is being battered by snow.  If you do business in the southeast or gulf region, the tropical storms and hurricanes that come along with the summer months can really mess with your operations.  Do not overlook the influence and potential obstacle that weather can create.  A recent Logistics Viewpoints article takes a closer look at the “weatherproof supply chain”.  Read more here.

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Fulfillment and Logistics Technology: The Digital Impact

The digital breakthroughs that have occurred over the past decade have revolutionized our everyday lives.  The massive bookcase in your home that once held hundreds of CD’s and movies can now be used for books.  Well, maybe not books because your Kindle, Nook or iPad can now hold an entire library.  As a result the cost of publishing and distributing music, photography and literature has been significantly decreased.  This creates value for producers and benefits for consumers.  A $9.99 album download would have been an $18.99 CD several years ago.  The development of digital technologies is not only limited to more efficient and less expensive entertainment.  It also has practical applications within supply chain technology.  A recent article from Logistics Management explains the importance of recognizing this value and how to utilize digital platforms.  Read more here.

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The Health and Beauty Supply Chain: Designing the Best Team

With the Super Bowl over, college football national signing day in the rearview mirror and only days left until pitchers and catchers report, there is a big focus on team building in the sports world.  With projections and predictions based on staff chemistry, talent and management, the importance of designing a team with the goal of winning a championship cannot be denied.  The same is true for health and beauty product logistics.

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Retail Logistics: 5 Facts about Omni-Channel Fulfillment

They’re on the backs of baseball cards.  They help us determine fact from opinion and myth from reality.  Whether it’s the EPA regulated fuel efficiency rating of a new car or settling an argument between who’s the better quarterback, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, statistics carry a lot of weight.  While numbers personify trends, they can also be used to steer conversations and prove points.  One thing that you can’t be steered away from is the growing prevalence of omni-channel retail distribution.  Just as statistical knowledge can help prove your point in those Sunday afternoon gridiron debates, statistics can help you understand and navigate the new challenges of retail logistics.  Here are 5 facts and stats about omni-channel and its impact on retail.

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Medical Product Fulfillment: Avoiding WMS Challenges

If you’ve ever taken a road trip, the experience of being in unfamiliar territory can be stressful.  Knowing which exits to take, understanding what parts of town to avoid and being aware of problem traffic areas are all luxuries you don’t have when driving through an unknown city.  However, with a little research and planning, your trip can be much easier.  Having a predetermined route, knowing about road construction, and timing your trip to avoid local rush hours will put you safely at your destination without the headache of a dozen u-turns.  Implementing a WMS for your medical product distribution center can be quite similar.

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E-Commerce and Warehouse Automation

When technology is able to improve our lives, we, as consumers, increase our demand of it.  At the beginning of any major technological transition, the infrastructure that makes it possible needs to be ramped up.  Take cell phones, for example.  As soon as the convenience of constant communication became ubiquitous , cell towers began to pop up in cities across the country.  The same thing is happening in support of e-commerce.  Only instead of cell towers, fulfillment automation technology is being valued and implemented to reduce the stress on traditional fulfillment operations.  A recent article in Logistics Viewpoints details how the boom of warehouse automation is contributing to the success of e-commerce.  Click here to read the article.

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Shoe Fulfillment: Supply Chain Management Technology Advancements

Creating an environment of visibility has never been more necessary than it is now.  The ability to create, share and leverage information between partners is now integrated directly into fulfillment technology.  This new development is made possible by the cloud.  Just as the cloud makes accessing your personal media from anywhere easy, platforms across a variety of supply chain management applications are also reaping its benefits.

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The Food Supply Chain: How Will the Food Modernization Act Impact It?

The food supply chain can be a lot like a car.  When all of the parts and processes are working and in rhythm, all is good; however, when a problem occurs in any single, isolated piece, it can spell trouble for the entire vehicle.  A flat tire, a dead battery, a failing transmission.  All of these issues can keep a car firmly parked until the issue is addressed.  The multiple exchanges within our food’s supply chain increase the potential problems between the farm or factory and our plate or pantry.  In 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law, with the focus of preventing contamination, instead of reacting to it.  The December issue of Inbound Logistics discusses what this means going forward in terms of food logistics.  To read more, click here.

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Athletic Apparel Distribution: The Advantage of Flexible Automation

Flexibility means being able to adapt to stress without breaking, but rather, by bending.  It has its advantages in sports, as well as everyday life.  If you continually broke under pressure, you would more than likely not last long on a sports field, or in most careers.  Those who continually succeed are the ones who are able to manage stress and adapt on the fly.  Your supply chain is no different.  Without flexibility, too much stress can break it. In the December issue of Modern Materials Handling, the cover story details the flexible automation system for a yoga wear retailer.  Read about the benefits and details of their processes here.  

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Home Electronics Fulfillment: Overcoming Logistic Challenges

Everything poses its own unique challenges.  It’s these hurdles and obstacles along the way that separate competitors.  With home electronics manufacturers making large strides in technology, affordability and accessibility, industry revenue is at record levels.  Consumer Electronics Association projected 2% growth for 2014, bringing revenue to an unprecedented $211.3 billion.  However, this uptick in sales and production has not come along without its challenges.  Increased competition and growing consumer demands are making it difficult to maintain market share and profit margins.  Creating a supply chain that keeps costs low, products moving and customers happy is increasingly important.  Here are four common logistical challenges and two strategies to increase home electronics supply chain efficiency.

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