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.
Zara introduced a new tagging system that will speed up the process of getting apparel into stores and out to shoppers.
While omnichannel retail is the biggest growth area for retailers, the majority of retail CEOs are focused on traditional growth areas. Eighty-three percent of global retail CEOs believe that their retail supply chains are currently "not optimal" for today's changing retail environment, according to a recent study conducted by PwC for JDA Software. At the same time, only 34 percent of CEOs consider the rise of omnichannel shopping to be an external threat, while only 22 percent said it will have a direct impact on their organization, according to the survey of 400 global retail CEOs. "The rise of omnichannel is one of the most transformational shifts that has occurred in retail in recent times," said Baljit Dail, chairman of the board and interim CEO, JDA Software, in a statement. "Retailers who don't understand the strategic alignment of their supply chain with consumer expectations are in danger of becoming non-competitive."
Walmart plans to open a 1.2 million sq. ft. e-commerce fulfillment facility in Plainfield, Indiana. The center, in the AllPoints Midwest Industrial Park, is expected to create around 300 jobs by 2016.