One thing will always be true about the distribution industry - it never stops moving.
Be that as it may, business leaders ought to carve some time out of their busy schedules and reflect on the current state of affairs. What's driving progress in today's distribution sector?
Distribution Trend 1: High expectations from retail customers
Even though distribution has done a bang-up job leveling out operational expenditures during these past few transformative years, customer dependence on e-tail and e-commerce has skyrocketed.
Using data... will effectively reshape logistics as we know it - business will know more about the clients they service, the suppliers they partner with and their own industry's full potential as multifaceted service providers.
As a result, 87 percent of consumers prefer free shipping to fast shipping, which only received a paltry 13 percent of support, according to research from Deloitte. Furthermore, the definition of "fast shipping" has accelerated to two days or fewer. To distributors, that places incredible emphasis on streamlined processes to turn expedited shipping into the new norm, so their retail clients have more to offer consumers.
Distribution Trend 2: Transparency through data
Distributors leverage an overabundance of information in meaningful ways, but soon - if not already - big data analytics will pervade the entire omnichannel delivery process.
Internet of Things technology like sensors and telemetry will make it possible for companies to know more about parcels en route and shipping conditions for drivers, as well as mechanical performance indicators for on-site assets. Using data gleaned from these devices will effectively reshape logistics as we know it - business will know more about the clients they service, the suppliers they partner with and their own industry's full potential as multifaceted service providers.
The question is, will the distribution industry be prepared to ascertain intelligence from the white noise of raw data? To stay on top of it all, distribution companies may need to integrate or expand upon the use of advanced dedicated and cloud-based technology to create robust operations powered by big data.
Distribution Trend 3: Perishable goods delivery increases and innovates
More Americans than ever look to their mailbox for a decent bite to eat. According to a study by Packaged Facts, meal kit delivery services across the country have eaten up more than $650 million in venture capital. Similarly, a report by Morgan Stanley Research found more than one-third of online shoppers expect to buy groceries over the internet at least once this year.
Distribution will need to optimize in-house if they wish to keep up with demand if they service clients in the online grocery market, particularly when it comes to compliance with food safety regulations and environmental concerns over packaging.