Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Is it ALL about the last mile?

19-Dec-2017
Is it ALL about the last mile?
UK retailers can be forgiven for sleepless nights and kneejerk reactions. In the UK, more than 2,500 high street retail outlets – about 14 a day – closed their doors in the first half of 2017, according to reports. High street sales are at their weakest point since the Great Recession of 2008, and while the losses were somewhat offset by new store openings, retailers continue in uncertainty as consumer shopping continues to move online.

The pressure on retailers to provide consistent experiences and competitive pricing all while protecting their margins and serving a customer who increasingly shops outside of the store, is at an all time high.

But it is important to understand we are talking about change here, not catastrophe. Just because stores are struggling doesn’t mean consumers have stopped shopping. In fact, retail sales grew about 4%. Much of that comes from e-commerce, which grew an astonishing 14% in 2017.

That shift has many in retail, fashion and consumer products focusing on business models that get their products directly to consumers faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than ever before.

The net effect has been an increased, almost myopic focus on last mile delivery. And we’ve seen lots of ideas for how to solve it – autonomous vehicles, drones, subscription services, and even Uber, to name a few. All out of recognition that consumers are mobile, have high expectations, and don’t always buy from stores. Fast-changing consumer habits have put businesses under intense pressure to solve for the last mile. But if they don’t get the rest of their supply chain in order first, 2018 could be a logistics nightmare.

Here’s where it gets tricky. These novel delivery methods cost money, and unless you’re Amazon and have millions of paying Prime members, you’ll have to offset the cost of last mile delivery somewhere else in the supply chain. And even trickier, if the products are not positioned in places you can ship from, it doesn’t matter how good your last mile capabilities are.

Retailers would do well to remember that the last mile is only about 5% of the total supply chain. If they are to survive these changes, now is the time to focus on making sure the other 95% is up to the task. That means enhancing connectivity and visibility across the global supply network, streamlining the procure-to-pay process, and making sure every aspect of the supply chain, from stores and warehouses all the way upstream to carriers and factories are aligned to provide end consumers the best delivery experiences possible.

Labeling Solutions for Global Expansion
6 days ago
Prime Day will be a $1.6bn loss-leader creating millions more Prime members, says e-commerce expert
1 week ago
Say what? The new possibilities of voice and machine driven retail
1 week ago
‘Peak faith’ in the cloud only 12-18 months away with slump to follow, warns 6point6 Cloud Gateway
1 week ago
As you were for UK manufacturing sector, but new business growth at three month high
1 week ago
Back to IoT basics: Automating outcomes to improve customer experience
2 weeks ago
Investigation of the "Fast Fashion" impact
2 weeks ago
Redefining Rental for Materials Handling Equipment
3 weeks ago
With the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP Creates “A Completely Different Kind of Flexibility”
3 weeks ago
The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link
3 weeks ago
How to Streamline Labeling in the Pharma Space
3 weeks ago
‘A revolution happened in the way we buy services last week – and no one has noticed!’
3 weeks ago
Hot Topics at GS1 Connect? Labeling, Blockchain and More
3 weeks ago
Retailers must Embrace Change
3 weeks ago
Labeling Solutions That Bridge Islands of Data
1 month ago
My Journey to the World’s Most Important Gathering of Supply Chain Leaders
1 month ago
Workforce of the Future
1 month ago
Securing your supply chain against political uncertainty
1 month ago
On-demand warehousing could help retailers score big this summer
1 month ago
Half of organisations set for major procurement and supply chain AI investment within two years
1 month ago
Brexit, the weather & online shopping: How Britain’s favourite conversations are shaping supply chains
1 month ago
The Road to Regulatory Compliance for Your Supply Chain Labeling
1 month ago
The War on Packaging
1 month ago
Five data dramas that keep your CIO awake at night
1 month ago
As sales fall new report finds many department stores’ websites suffer from clunky integration and poor delive
1 month ago
Got Your Surfboards Ready to Master the Wave of Digitalization?
1 month ago
TrustArc to Offer IAPP Privacy Core® GDPR Training to Address Compliance Requirements
1 month ago
The Market has never been Stronger for Horizontal and Vertical API Platforms
1 month ago
Selecting the best Transport Management System - One of the most important logistics decisions you’ll make
1 month ago
“Digital Transformation” and Supply Chain Planning
1 month ago
Coolest Advice for Making Blockbuster IoT Devices?
1 month ago
The Fall of ‘Made in China’
1 month ago
How can artificial intelligence help the food industry?
2 months ago
Streamlining Operations With Waveless Picking
2 months ago
Creating a common standard for the fashion supply chain…
2 months ago
5 Steps to Improve Your Business’s Supply Chain
2 months ago
Procurement is joining the dots with technology to achieve greater strategic benefits
2 months ago
Don’t get red-carded shipping World Cup items into Russia
2 months ago
Trash talk: how waste management could become an engine for business growth
2 months ago
Could consumers drive a business tech revolution?
2 months ago
Jungheinrich Opinion: The Connected Engineer
2 months ago
Debunking the myths of the Hybrid Cloud
2 months ago
How to Future-Proof a Retail Business
2 months ago
How Enterprise Label Solutions Streamline Supply Chain Management
2 months ago
Ignorance 4.0? UK manufacturing and engineering competitiveness at risk from lack of knowledge
2 months ago
Untangling S&OP and S&OE
3 months ago
The ghosts of retail past, present and future
3 months ago
How to safeguard customer loyalty using digital platforms
3 months ago
The last mile starts with a single step
3 months ago