It seems to me that supply chain is being driven towards an omni supply chain model where the capabilities are available to deliver to the endpoint customer any time and through multiple methods and customer selected delivery points. I see this as another opportunity for millennials to open the door to the possibilities and demands to fit into their lifestyles. This is also a bigger issue in an urban area than in a suburban or rural area so the supply chain and finial carriers must have the ability to support multiple models for the delivery. The consumer challenge now is for the supply chain to be knocked off-balance and forced to reevaluate their extended supply chain and especially the delivery model. The bulk of the final delivery has been moving towards the parcel model now for a long time and I think the industry now may be at a tipping point that can be easily pushed by millennials to re-evaluate practices.
One of the most annoying carrier practices in my opinion is the ‘sorry we missed you’ post it note left by carriers. This practice is especially prevalent in urban settings where there housing is more dense and the need to secure the package when delivering is highest. This most annoying aspect of this issue is the differences between carriers and even between carrier drivers. The most annoying experience for me was a FedEx delivery where the only notification of a failed delivery I received was from Amazon tracking and then the driver would not vary his delivery time to coincide with my request to drop the package at a local retailer that would accept the package for me. This has left a very bad taste for me and it is so bad that now my only recourse for the FedEx delivery service is to have it sent to a local FedEx store where I can retrieve it.
I bring this up because this is in my opinion the next frontier that will be confronted by consumers for change and carriers and retailers must take this into account. Most last mile delivery carriers are providing consumers with capabilities and options to adjust the final delivery which is positive. The end experience though needs to be improved and simplified. Carriers are still focused on fitting the consumer demands into the actions that easily fit into the carrier’s own existing capabilities which does not take into account the consumer desires. This is exactly the position that retailers held not so long ago and now you can see that these large retailers are struggling with retention and sales.
I see another large shift in the horizon focused on consumer interactions with retailers, manufacturers and especially with carriers to adjust to meet the consumer lifestyle demands. This will again be driven by the imagination of millennials and their comfort in technology and ability to use their imagination to mash up capabilities into new services. These will be good times for manufacturers as they expand their reach into the marketplace and there will be a quickening of fallout for large retailers and major transportation carriers.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors. How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience? Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes. In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas. How can you support these continuously changing requirements?