As you look back on 2014, think about what your supply chain looked like a mere 12 months ago. There is a good chance that many things have changed. To help you prepare for a stellar new year, we have compiled 6 trends that will influence and challenge your fulfillment and logistics operations in 2015.
1.) E-commerce Continues to Grow: Following the prediction that e-commerce will grow by 10% each year, this sector is expected to produce over $279 billion in 2015. According to Forester Research, e-commerce will make up 11% of all U.S. retail sales!
2.) Proliferation of Mobile Points of Sale: Shippers have adjusted to the ability that consumers now have to place orders from anywhere, at any time. They’ve also met the demands of having packages delivered when and where desired. The newest wrinkle facing shippers will be the emergence of mobile points of sale. In addition to the traditional exchange of currency or swipe of a card, e-wallets and services like Apple Pay, PayPal Credit, Amazon Payments and Google Pay will allow for a variety of new revenue collecting channels. These new avenues will force shippers to again respond by integrating more sales channels into their supply chain.
3.) Growth of Outsourcing: According to the 19th Annual Third Party Logistics Study, 67% of shippers plan to increase their outsourced logistics services. To support this theme, 86% of 3PL providers claim that their customers have increased the use of these services. Conversely, only 26% of shippers have plans to keep logistics in-house.
4.) Cost Savings: The average logistics cost reduction was 9% in 2014. Combined with an average inventory cost reduction of 5%, a fixed logistics cost reduction of 15% and the rise of technology, 2015 will be the year of the lean supply chain.
5.) Sustainability and Green Initiatives: Sustainability has become a key element within fulfillment operations. The days of packing peanuts are slowly fading in the rearview, while an effort to package products in the most efficient way possible has been spurred on by a change in UPS and FedEx pricing, which now focuses on weight and dimensions. Incorporating “Green” features in the warehouse and transportation sectors will be synergistic with these rate changes.
6.) Visibility and Cloud Technology: As the variables grow and the challenges of achieving efficient, accurate fulfillment shift, the need for sound technology and visibility across the supply chain will be more important than ever. With apps, cloud technology and developments across WMS and TMS platforms, technology will continue to have the greatest role in logistical advancements for the coming year.
While many of these have been trends in the recent past, the way they will influence supply chains and their management continues to change and play a larger role across the logistics arena.
For over 73 years, Barrett Distribution Centers has met the challenges of each passing year and embraced the changes in processes to create the best fulfillment solutions. With a focus on technology and sustainability, Barrett Distribution continues to develop customized supply chain plans.