Last week, Home Delivery World took place on the internet, connecting hundreds of supply chain leaders for a series of panels, discussions, and even a few (virtual) happy hours, if you knew where to look.
While the discussion covered everything from white glove delivery service to track & trace technology, our team in attendance came away with four critical themes that will shape the supply chain in 2021 and beyond
- Home delivery is here to stay– It’s trite that a room full of professionals who make their living overseeing home deliveries agree that home delivery will be critical for the future of the supply chain. However, it’s also critical to really delve into the shift we’ve seen, especially as a result of COVID-19. While companies like DoorDash and InstaCart were pushing the envelope of what types of goods are supposed to be deliverable, the global pandemic has turbocharged the shift to home delivery, with everything from stand up desks to toilet paper expected as available, almost immediately.
- Logistics just became part of the UX– In the new “deliver everything” view, it’s critical for brands to think about the actual delivery as part of the customer experience. There was a great mention of how much negative feedback on Amazon product pages has nothing to do with the product, and everything to do with the delivery. “The driver left it on my doorstep without ringing the bell and my package was stolen.” “The box container my glass coffee pot looks like someone played soccer with it; big surprise, the coffee pot is shattered.” “I love the product, but the ETA changed a half dozen times and I had to give this to my mom a week after her birthday”… the list goes on.
- It isn’t just pricing that’s complicating this peak season– Every peak season is different, but this year’s iteration is bringing a wide range of atypical issues. On one hand, many truckers are canceling agreements because they’re able to find more money for a similar load elsewhere. Others see that they might have extra room in a trailer, and are working to pick up an extra bit of freight to really fill the truck (and improve their margins). This would be fine, except when shippers pay for FTL, they don’t expect to see their goods potentially damaged by someone else’s goods. These issues have been particularly prevalent for some of the newer companies that have removed the storefront experience form their operations, such as exercise equipment companies and mattress sellers. The capacity crunch, which is being exacerbated in port cities by tremendous (often record-level) imports.
- APIs and stitching are the future, and the future is now– “In the last seven months, we’ve moved the supply chain ahead 10 years.” The idea of digital transformation has been discussed for years, but the necessity of touchless delivery, of systems will be part of a new normal. This is being exacerbated by IoT systems.