Getting items from the factory where they are produced into stores or customers’ homes has become a complicated, global undertaking. Meanwhile, clients and customers expect speedy deliveries, leaving little room for error. As the shipping and transport industry grows more complex and demanding, strategic logistics management has become an essential component of the supply chain.
The growth of ecommerce has resulted in a shipping boom that requires careful coordination and planning for companies large and small. These businesses stake their reputations on fulfilling orders accurately and quickly, making strategic logistics management more important than ever before.
Online Shopping Raises the Stakes
As online shopping and ecommerce have taken off, a worldwide shipping demand has been fueled, and along with it, a need for oversight over the entire system. This trend isn’t likely to slow down.
Forrester Research predicts that in 2017 online sales will comprise 10 percent of all retail sales made in the United States. Mobile devices, which make it easy for customers to shop and buy online no matter where they are, are contributing to the rapid expansion of ecommerce.
Corresponding with this boom in online shopping is a massive push by customers for faster service and lower shipping costs. This is where strategic logistics management can be leveraged. Through a comprehensive overview and careful analysis of the supply chain, strategic logistics management can help lower costs and ensure that the correct goods are traveling to customers in the most efficient way possible.
Retailers are starting to understand just how important strategic logistics management is to their success. Ecommerce giant Amazon works with 20 logistics providers, and many other companies are following suit. These corporations are realizing that an investment in strategic logistics management can result in big rewards.
Logistics are Growing
Along with contributing significantly to the shipping industry and the success of ecommerce, the logistics management sector is creating jobs and bolstering to the economy. The Wall Street Journal reported that in November of this year, as retailers and shippers were gearing up for the holiday season, 8,700 new jobs were created at transportation and logistics companies. In the prior month, 12,200 jobs were created.
And it’s not just seasonal jobs being created in the logistics sector. With ecommerce becoming a preferred method of shopping year round, the logistics industry has seen steady growth over the past year. In the 12 months leading up to the holiday season, the logistics industry had already grown significantly, with a reported 47,400 new jobs being offered and filled.
Technology Boosts Logistics
With the help of technology, strategic logistics management is able to better serve and enable manufacturers, shippers, and retailers. The advent of digital systems tracking for inventory and shipping has accelerated logistics management, but is only the beginning.
Some warehouses are experimenting with integrating RFID technology into packaging. This would allow for more accurate tracking and would ensure that the right goods are shipped to the right location. The combination of automated robotic processes and skilled workers has made it more efficient to pack and ship goods.
Big Data has also contributed to the already massive value of strategic logistics management. With a complete picture of the supply chain made available in real time, and detailed information about what is happening along transit routes, informed decisions can made. Shipments can be rerouted to avoid weather delays or to stock extra inventory in areas where a particular item is selling out. Making logistics more agile and responsive helps manufacturers, shippers, retailers, and, ultimately, customers.
If you need a partner to help you strategically manage and successfully move your products out of the port and onto their final destination, be sure to download our ebook — Speeding Time-to-Shelf and Cutting Costs — a must read for today’s logistics managers.