Fulfillment & Third Party Logistics Blog

Footwear and Apparel Supply Chain: Making the Last Mile Difference

By 2018 over 1.35 billion online originated deliveries are expected to be made annually.  Clothing and footwear are expected to maintain the highest percentage of these deliveries.  As the volume of these orders continues to grow, so will the importance the last mile delivery.  The “last mile” is defined as the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to the customer’s door.  With online retail making up 10% all purchases, supply chains have adapted to address the challenges of omni-channel fulfillment.  But as consumers discover more options, and demands in terms of speed, cost, and convenience increase, this last mile can create new obstacles.

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Footwear Supply Chain Sustainability: Going Green for ROI

Each year Americans spend $20 billion on footwear.  The industry as a whole has grown over 4% in the past five years and that trend is expected to continue.  At the same time, the landscape for how consumers are shopping for and purchasing shoes has changed.  Shoppers now have more options, more demands that have resulted in shifting preferences from a focus on price to a focus on convenience.  This new criteria is forcing supply chains across all industries to shift priorities and resources to meet these demands.  Cost savings and operational efficiencies have taken a higher precedent than ever before.  Simultaneously, becoming more environmentally responsible has come to the forefront for many companies as well.  New technology, strategies and methods has made it not only possible for companies to turn their supply chains “green”, but also allowed them to capitalize on cost trimming opportunities and new process efficiencies. 

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Footwear Warehousing: 5 Facts About Improving Efficiency

For 83% of warehouse managers’ their top priority is to lower operations costs. This is up 5% from 2014 according to a Peerless Research Group Survey. This is not an unusual focus when you consider the massive shift occurring from brick & mortar retail to e-commerce. The footwear industry is a prime example. No longer is going to the mall for a pair of shoes a consumer’s first choice. Many consumers now prefer shopping from the comfort of their home or the convenience of a mobile device.

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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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Footwear Fulfillment: Enhanced Distribution for Better Customer Service

Not being able to find something can be one of the most frustrating parts of any day.  Scavenging for misplaced car keys, searching for a parking spot in the zip code as the mall, and noticing the gate in the backyard was left open and the dog is taking a tour of the neighborhood are all things that make us late and frustrated.  The same thing is true when someone is looking for pair of shoes and either can’t find them in the store or can’t find them in their size.  When this happens customers will either leave your store and look elsewhere, or find a different brand that has what they are looking for, when they are looking for it.

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Opportunities and Challenges in Footwear Fulfillment

Logistics operations, like many other things, are constantly evolving.  This is especially true for the footwear industry.  As technology creates new opportunities for consumers and new efficiencies for companies, it can also introduce new challenges. 

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Footwear and Apparel Accuracy: The RFID Solution

Finally, five o’ clock has rolled around at the end of a long day.  After gathering your laptop, notes and sunglasses, you are greeted at the front door of your office by a clap of thunder and a torrential downpour.  You see your car about 20 feet away and before you begin to negotiate the puddles and lightning, you pull your key fob from your pocket, unlock the driver’s side door and count your lucky stars you don’t have to fumble with your keys and briefcase trying to fit the key into the door lock as you become inundated with rain.  This is just one of the modern conveniences made possible by radio frequency identification technology, or RFID.  Even though the shoes on your feet are now saturated, thanks to RFID tags your footwear and apparel supply chain doesn’t need to end up underwater.

The challenges posed by today’s hyper competitive landscape in the footwear and apparel sector can be met through a number of ways.  RFID technology makes two of the most crucial possible: lowering costs and increasing visibility.  The fact that this technology offers the opportunity to meet these critical objectives is evident in IDTechEx’s forecast that the apparel RFID market will grow to over $1 billion by 2021.  This is an increase from only $36 million in 2010.  Let’s take a closer look at how RFID tagging can enhance supply chain accuracy through decreasing cost and increasing transparency.

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