Supply Chain

Same Day Delivery Shipping Wars Heat Up

In December 2017 we learned that Target had acquired Shipt for $550m in order to let Target customers order groceries and other products online and have them shipped to their home addresses from nearby Target stores.

The goal of this acquisition is to allow Target to offer same day delivery from approximately half of its stores by mid-2018, adding even more stores by the holiday season.

Not all categories of products will be included but it will start with groceries, electronics and other household goods and plans to include all product groups by the end of 2019.

Today Bloomberg reported that Amazon is considering acquiring some of the properties left vacant by the recent bankruptcy of Toys R Us. There is no information on what exactly Amazon plans to do with these stores, but it could continue to expand its bricks and mortar store operations and expand its bookstores which also serve as retail outlets for its Echo devices.

Another possibility for Amazon is that the acquisition of more retail outlets would allow for a bigger network to place inventory closer to where shoppers live, and would allow faster delivery to ecommerce shoppers in more areas.

Amazon has already placed merchants under pressure with the amazing speed and success of its Prime delivery, and as Amazon’s advancement with drone deliveries continues, the competition to keep up with faster delivery times grows more fierce.

Amazon’s goal is to develop a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles that can deliver packages to shoppers in under 30 minutes, and today it was reported that it has been granted a patent for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures, with the hope that this will help Amazon to figure out how drones will interact with customers who are in the vicinity of their doorsteps.

Walmart’s approach is slightly different, but equally important. Walmart announced that it is planning to put Fedex Office locations in 500 of its stores over a two year period. Not only will they provide the usual FedEx services, but Walmart customers can also have online orders that are being delivered by FedEx held at a Walmart store for pick up.

As big box retailers think or more ways to get products to our doorsteps in the quickest possible time, the shipping challenge continues for niche online stores to compete.

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Supply Chain for Small to Medium Sized Business

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Supply chain is again one of the hot topics and is predicted to be one of the biggest areas of investment in technology for retailers during 2016.

In fact, the scramble to get ahead by retailers can be seen in the recruitment of new faces to manage the supply chain operation in companies such as Target and Wayfair.

Target announced that they had hired Amazon veteran Arthur Valdez as executive VP and Chief Supply Chain and Logistics officer, while home furnishings etailer, Wayfair LLC, hired Staples veteran, Sharif Sleiman, to lead its supply chain operations (Sleiman has also held managerial positions at Groupon, eBay and Oracle).

At the last ProMat Supply Chain Management show the focus was on supply chain management software, with an emphasis on systems integration, and the ability to fulfill increasingly complex orders.

Many businesses (including some large companies) still rely heavily on manual processes, and according to a report from Supply Chain Insights, managing procurement and supplier relations is still one of the most time consuming tasks they undertake.

Why is supply chain so important to the retailing giants, and how can small and midsized companies compete?

Software integration is integral to an organization’s success. If all the processes required to carry out your business don’t “talk to each other” then a person will have to step in to connect everything together.

A growing number of smaller businesses is now realizing that the investment in technology to solve these problems can greatly improve existing processes, and save valuable time and dollars.

xocbox can help

xocbox offers semi-customized automation solutions for small to mid-sized businesses and has provided EDI solutions to allow communication with suppliers and the electronic placing of website orders for fulfillment, inventory management, and can provide integration with third party products.

A recent project working for a small manufacturer of custom products, allowed orders to be placed via multiple ecommerce platforms and processed through the xocbox management system, and a work-order was then produced from the system to be passed on to the shop floor to make the product.

Previously the work orders had been generated manually, and as the products usually involved more than one trade to complete, had to be generated multiple times by hand. This new process has saved many hours of administrative time, and reduced errors (and frustration).

If you are considering automating a process in your business and are not sure where to begin, contact xocbox to discuss how we may help.

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Improving Supply Chains

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In a recent study carried out by Boston Retail Partners that surveyed 500 North American retailers, one of the main areas of concern was supply chain.

Of those respondents, 93% were working towards solutions that would allow them to integrate operations and sales from physical stores, and online sales from desktop and mobile devices.

Ensuring that the flow of products to customers is seamless from the purchase order issued to a supplier, right through to delivery – whether via drop ship or through the retailer’s own store has been made more efficient through the use of electronic data interchange, or EDI.

In fact, many of the major big box stores will not work with smaller suppliers if they do not carry out their operations in this way.

Rigid guidelines and standards must be followed to enable EDI to work smoothly, and universal forms and messaging formats, for example, Invoice 810, Advance Shipping Notice 856, are recognized formats.

There is no question that EDI is efficient as a business to business tool.

However, if you are a retailer trying to respond to customer demand as indicated by social media, Google data or other web signals, you may need additional monitoring tools to meet your company’s demand.

If your company is facing challenges with any aspect of its supply chain, drop ship or delivery, contact xocbox – we would be pleased to discuss your business needs.

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