Each week we look for the best blog posts, articles, and commentary on supply chain orchestration, logistics innovation, and industry news to share.
This week we're reading about the health care industry's embrace of e-commerce trends, the parcel challenges facing US customs, the realities and misconceptions of 4PLs, the algorithms that are taking over the human functions of demand planning and pricing in Amazon's retail department, and the results of a recent study on key supplier relationships and risk in Europe.
Without further ado..
Health Care Embraces E-commerce Trends - By Josh Bond, Modern Materials Handling (@modernmhmag) - The pressures of cost, speed, accuracy, and traceability have the health care industry eyeing e-commerce strategies such as direct-to-consumer and tracking to help solve them. It's noted that using a flexible software solution in coordinating the flow of goods to what is an increasingly global marketplace can help. Being able to capture and track all of the data, including custom fields and data sources, is also a big opportunity.
E-commerce’s Package Explosion Challenges US Customs - By Eric Johnson (@LogTechEric), JOC.com (@JOC_Updates) - Reporting from the Association of American Importers & Exporters conference, an interesting discussion on the challenges facing customs in the US and elsewhere. With an $800 de minimis value limit for goods coming into the US (versus Canada's $20 and Mexico's $50) and international e-commerce's continued growth, US and other countries' customs departments are becoming deluged (1.2 million parcels daily in 2017, rising to 1.7 million so far in 2018 a day coming to the US alone).
Realities and Misconceptions of 4PL Relationships - By Adrian Gonzalez, Talking Logistics (@talkinlogistics) - A great post and video interview with GEODIS VP of Business Development, Matt Lewis, that explains the difference between a 3PL and a 4PL and identifies and details the areas of the supply chain a 4PL typically takes on for a brand owner within procurement, finance, IT, and operations.
Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters - By Spencer Soper (@spencersoper), Bloomberg (@business) - Algorithms have taken over the human functions of demand planning and pricing at Amazon prompting the merging of their retail and marketplace business and resulting in a rare lay off within the organization. “Computers know what to buy and when to buy, when to offer a deal and when not to,” says Neil Ackerman, a former Amazon executive who manages the supply chain at Johnson & Johnson. “These algorithms that take in thousands of inputs and are always running smarter than any human.”
Buyers More Reliant on Critical Suppliers - By Francis Churchill (@fpchurchill), Supply Management/CIPS (@cipsnews) - A joint report by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and Cranfield School of Management found that 47.8% of European supplier relationships in the first quarter of 2018 were seen as either key or critical by the buyer. This follows a 6.7% rise in the same figure in the last quarter of 2017. The retail sector saw the highest increase in its dependency on key suppliers.