Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

3PL Retail Warehousing and Transportation: Making the Most of Your Space

3PL Retail Warehousing and Transportation: Making the Most of Your SpaceTo say that the way we do business has changed in the past few years would be an understatement.  The truth is, businesses across the board and across the globe have transitioned with technology to meet new consumer buying habits and demands.  The emergence of smartphones, tablets and cloud-based, subscription-driven programming (Netflix, HBOGo, Hulu, etc.) is forcing a shift for networks and cable providers.  Spotify and Pandora are also disrupting the music recording industry.  The truth is consumers are less concerned with owning an item as long as they have access to it.  They are willing to pay a smaller fee and forego the tangible good (CD, DVD, etc.).  This now even extends to retail outlets that are now operating in ways that weren’t even conceived 15 years ago. This is opening new opportunities for businesses to gain advantages on the retail fulfillment side as well.

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Consumer Electronics Truckload Transportation and Fulfillment Trends

One of the most popular product sectors in recent year has been consumer electronics.  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants showed that Americans spent up to 17% of their monthly mortgage on technology.  With such a demand for these products it’s no wonder that so many new competitors continue to emerge in this market.  It also is not surprising that e-commerce provides an ideal distribution platform for this industry.  With that being said, there are a variety of new trends developing around consumer electronics fulfillment and truckload transportation.  Here are a few.

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Transportation Challenges: Truckload Capacity

There are many examples of how something can improve, but still have plenty of room to get better.  Take a report card for example, raising your grades from a C- to a B is great, but there is still room for improvement to reach that A.  Your favorite team winning the wildcard and making the playoffs is exciting, but they can still improve and win the division. The same is true for the current state of truckload (TL) capacity. 

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Technology Trends and Predictions for Transportation and Fulfillment

Could you imagine shopping for clothes without going to the store and seeing, feeling and trying them on?  15 years ago, the answer was probably, “No”.  Today many people probably could not imagine wandering around the mall when you could shop online from home.  The same is true for buying a car.  It used to be that the salesman at the dealership was the expert and held the answers to all of your questions.  Today you can read reviews, industry articles, even build your own and compare against similar models online.  When you step on the showroom floor, you may very well even know more than the salesman.  This is just a small example about how technology has revolutionized how we shop and live as consumers today.  These same technological revolutions are taking place on the supply chain side, and they are changing how we live and work to get goods transported

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Apparel Logistics: Managing Truckload Transportation Costs

The women’s apparel sector alone was a $116.4 billion industry in 2013, up 4% from the previous year according to Global Biz Circle.  Although revenue across apparel categories is only expected to rise over the next decade, new consumer demands and increased competition is making it more challenging for apparel companies to increase profit margins. 

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Consumer Electronics Fulfillment: LTL and Partial Truckload Shipping

The consumer electronics (CE) market hit an all-time high in revenue last year of $211.3 billion, a two percent increase from the previous year. CE is expected to grow again by over one to two percent this year as well.  Another exciting trend in this sector is the growing role that e-commerce is playing.  In 2012, the e-commerce channel accounted for $49 billion of CE sales.  That number is forecasted to eclipse $108 billion by 2018.  

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Fulfillment Transportation: The Outlook for a Long Term Plan

It is common knowledge that the United States’ interstate highway transportation infrastructure has fallen behind the times. Adding to this issue, freight traffic is expected to increase by 45% over the next 30 years, increasing the stress on the already deteriorating roads and bridges.  This will make it especially difficult on supply chains from coast-to-coast. While legislation has been discussed and small funding measures have been taken over the past few years, a wide reaching overhaul to bring our transportation model into the 21st century and beyond hasn’t been completed.  A recent article from Logistics Management details the latest federal outlook and what it could mean going forward.  To read the article, click here.

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How Do Transportation Trends Relate to the Economy?

There are many metrics that can provide a 30,000 foot view of the state of the economy. Home sales, employment rate, and wage growth are all common metrics used to grade the commercial health of our country. But what can the actual movement of the goods we buy tell us about the direction the economy is moving? The first quarter of 2015 saw the U.S.’s GDP fall by 0.7%. This goes hand-in-hand with the smallest year-over-year gain in the monthly truck tonnage index in over 2 years. A recent article from DC Velocity explains what these shrinking transport numbers can mean for the nation’s economy as a whole. Read the article here.

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