Imagine this scenario: A retailer processes a bunch of orders for physical TV sets. It then puts those orders in the hands of three or four shipping partners.
Those contractors subsequently delegate that work to regional subcontractors. At this point in the product’s journey, the retailer gets a call from a very angry customer who still has not received his TV.
Problem is, it’s Saturday evening, July 15th. Tomorrow, Sunday the 16th, is the season-seven debut of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” The customer invited all his friends over for the premier, and now he has to cancel. To add insult to injury, the retailer isn’t actually sure where the TV is because it lacks that level of supply chain visibility.
So we ask again: Do you know where your deliveries are?
The road to route optimization is shrouded in a haze
If the answer is no, you’re not alone. According to Supply Chain Dive, a mere 6 percent of companies have complete supply chain visibility. This doesn’t bode well for retailers trying to compete in what has become a dead heat between Amazon Prime and, well, everybody else.
Yes, the construction of the modern, disparate supply chain works against visibility, and for that matter, route optimization. Retailers frequently aren’t well-integrated with their distributors, and their distributors’ distributors. As a result, the water gets a bit muddy downstream, making it difficult to optimize delivery routing at the last mile for reliability and performance.
And much like winter in GoT, the retail bloodbath is already upon us, according to CNN. Falter now, and risk failing forever.
Technology is the problem, and the solution
E-commerce is one of the main reasons so many brick-and-mortar shops have been shuttered. And thanks to companies like Amazon, online shopping is a tough game to play. Customer satisfaction is largely dependent on a retailer’s ability to be quick and reliable. But before they can be either of these things, they must be transparent, and that takes a little bit of innovation.
Just like technology got us into this mess, it’s poised to get us out of it. With a cloud-based, big data and analytics delivery-tracking solution, retailers, contractors, subcontractors and even customers are provided the ability to see the same information at the same time, from different locations and on different devices. This visibility, which can easily be maintained through a mobile application such as nuDeliverIt, opens the door to so many other opportunities for route optimization. We’ll be exploring that potential on this blog in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, try to avoid spoiling GoT with your theories. That’s one thing that we’d prefer not to know about until it happens.