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Taming the e-tail tiger

Taming a tiger presents many challenges and ‘Taming the e-tail tiger’ is no different. One thing is sure, e-tailing is here to stay and ignore it at your peril.  But what are the future trends? Why should warehousing and distribution operators, 3PLs (third party logistics) and end users need to be ahead of the game?

The answer is that market forces dictate the shape and speed of this dynamic sector. Second place doesn’t cut it in e-tail, and that’s why the entire supply chain needs to be fit and smart enough to gain that all important competitive edge.

Unwittingly this evolution in retail process is causing changes to the way that logistics planners think about how they work. This has ramifications on the supply chain that run from transhipment and port-centric logistics to warehouse property and real estate configuration, through to transport hubs and delivery to the end user – and not forgetting of course the returns process. This by definition adds to costs and potentially builds in inefficiencies if unplanned in terms of systems, sorting and storage.

When mapped out this all makes absolute sense, but those who are slow to put e-tailing strategies on their ‘to-do’ list will either meet a challenge to catch up or perhaps face the ultimate penalty for being slow to keep ahead of market changes. Anticipation and planning is all part of success in business today, whether on a local or macro scale. Geographies may change and adapt, but forward thinking and innovation are the essential ingredients of a successful business.

The lesson learned from witnessing this paradigm shift in how logistics and goods are procured and delivered to the end user requires all those involved in the supply chain to keep up with the pace of change or potentially be left behind.

The Evolving E-Tail Supply Chain