Getting goods from point A to point B in an omnichannel environment has become a daunting challenge for retailers. They recognize the complexity and are investing to keep pace, but most still rely on outdated tools and ineffective processes to manage the end-to-end value chain.
The labor dispute involving West Coast dockworkers that stalled international trade at 29 ports that handle an estimated $1 trillion in cargo annually was tentatively resolved with a new five-year contract proposed on Friday, but many challenges remain.
It's not dead yet. The U.S. Postal Service may have been written off by the Internet, but e-commerce gave the government agency new life during the holiday season.
For years 3D printing has largely been a novelty, a niche experiment for churning out cheap plastic toys. But as 2015 kicks off, 3D printing looks to be on the rise and how retailers react to the way it changes their industry could define whether it's a blessing or a curse.
Amazon has introduced robots from Kiva Systems, machines that work in fulfillment centers, moving around the warehouse floors. The robots are helping Amazon to more quickly fill holiday orders.
Retailers are aiming to reduce shipping and processing for holiday orders this season but will still struggle to meet demand as online shopping is expected to increase once again.
Logistics and transportation company DHL Global is changing its name to DHL eCommerce to show its renewed commitment to e-commerce solutions.
UPS will expand its My Choice and Access Point networks, two services that provide online shoppers additional options for parcel pickup. The expansion will also require fewer delivery stops by drivers.
UPS has a plan to increase capacity, speed process and complete deliveries in advance of the upcoming holiday season.
As consumers gain power, not only do they start shopping in more complex ways, they expect retailers to be able to fulfill their increasingly complex demands quickly–and without issue. As a result, the next generation supply chain is truly "the next big thing" for retail.