The supply chain historically has been focused on the marketplace and the support of the marketplace from the point of supplies to the point of delivery to the consumer.  Just as consumers have taken control of their shopping and purchasing capabilities in the retail marketplace they will also take control of the supply chain that supports their retail shopping and purchasing. Consumers, and millennials again will be driving these demands, will use social networking and mobile technology to reshape and build a supply chain that supports their demands and their lifestyle.  Retailers, manufacturers and transportation must learn from the lessons of social commerce changes to the retail marketplace in order to build the flexibility required to support the consumer social supply chain demands.

 

You see the beginnings of these changes with new services offered by carriers to redirect deliveries to a location at the convenience of the recipient and this is only the beginning.  There is no reason to think that millennials will be limited in their actions to the last mile delivery, and there is no reason to think that manufacturers and carriers will be any more nimble in their interactions with consumers than the large legacy retailers were.  In these areas the FedEx and the UPS stores may be at an advantage and the forefront to react to the changing demands of the consumers.  The USPS is also in a great position to meet changing consumer demands because they have postal locations across the nation and on top of that they deliver on Saturdays as well. 

 

I see the extended retail supply chain facing the same concerns as retailers, where they are focused on cost efficiencies and reductions to meet the demands of a very large and varied customer base, just as the large legacy retailers.  I think the large carriers, especially the ones providing the last mile delivery to consumers in the supply chain are heading towards a big shake-up as well.  This shake-up will be result again of millennials that will not accept the limitations of these carriers and demand new services and capabilities to meet their own lifestyles.  I also see Amazon again as a force for change in the retail supply chain driving new services and capabilities to create new demands and consumer expectations, just as they have done with retail shopping and purchasing practices.

 

I see the retail supply chain now focused on market share and cost containment, in the same manner as large retailers in the 80’s and 90’s, and the supply chain is heading for difficulty in support the changing market and demands of the extended supply chain partners.  There are three key catalyst areas for these changes; consumers, Amazon and manufacturers.  The manufacturers are beginning to come into the marketplace now and develop relationships with consumers in addition to retailers and this is another factor that will exert a greater influence on both the retail marketplace and the extended supply chain.

 

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?