With retailers bursting at the seams with school supplies, the average consumer has shifted their purchasing habits from pleasure to purpose. While the U.S. retail supply chain undergoes this minor peak in consumer demand in August, carriers and shippers are working behind the scenes to prepare for the most significant peak of the year — the winter holiday season. Let's consider six top stories to learn where the industry stands moving into this season.
As FedEx decision-makers focus on optimizing their services through Network 2.0, FedEx Ground contractors' attention is on their pay. A prominent contractor has initiated an alliance amongst contractors to make this happen, whereas FedEx Ground's President and CEO John Smith has claimed this as a "breach of contract." According to Supply Chain Dive, FedEx stands behind its concept: "The service provider model was built around the recognition that each business has unique and distinct characteristics and entrepreneurial goals, and therefore each agreement is – and will, without exception, continue to be – negotiated individually."
According to FreightWaves, the founder of UPS Inc found his purpose optimizing current processes instead of innovating new ones; "His mission, encapsulated in three words during a 1957 speech to mark UPS' 50th anniversary, was to 'keep sawing wood.'" Nearly four decades after its founder's passing, UPS has continued sawing wood and has its sights on drastically sawing off time from delivery times by employing the RFID program system-wide. Consistently shaving off any delivery time gives UPS better freight cost management they can pass on to their customers.
For decades, transportation and logistics have been operating off of old technologies until the e-commerce boom and pandemic revealed the need for an industry-wide change. While innovators have revolutionized many steps, the evolution of tech has made little impact on last-mile and reverse logistics. Veho was launched in 2016 to reduce OSD report findings through a modern platform that supports e-commerce needs with crowdsourced drivers and a logistics powerhouse.
As major transportation companies continue to pilot drones for commercial use, some companies are already slating start times. Supply Chain Dive reported that Washington's Multicare Health Systems is partnering with Zipline to "deliver time-sensitive medical supplies like lab samples, medications and test kits to MultiCare Health System's hospitals, labs and doctors' offices," beginning in 2024. While startup prices may seem intimidating, this "instant logistics" transportation method is just one of many logistics cost-saving opportunities that will change the game for the healthcare supply chain.
After years of transcontinental delivery running solely through the hands of FedEx and UPS, LaserShip and OnTrac's merger has provided a new option for retailers. Supply Chain Dive reported that this new delivery service launched on July 28, 2022, "allows the LaserShip-OnTrac combination to reach 74% of the US populations across 30 states and Washington, DC.." This offering will enable parcels to go from coast to coast in as little as three days by leveraging machine learning and the two networks.
After a tumultuous past few years, large carriers have collectively reported that the results of the first half of 2022 reveal an optimal forecast. FreightWaves reported that Bob Costello, ATA's chief economist said, "Essentially, the market is transitioning back to pre-pandemic shares of contract versus spot market." Freight accountants across the country will be grateful to see freight invoice errors decrease as contract rates remain high going into peak season.
As vacation traffic ends and families launch their children into a new school year, shippers and retailers must have a plan to get the most out of their peak season launch. Intelligent Audit can come alongside supply chain professionals to leverage their past data with actionable insights and gain better forecasting abilities through machine learning. Coupled with the advantages of an advisory service, Intelligent Audit can check everything off your peak season list to get consumers what they need for their school supplies list today and their holiday list tomorrow. Take your operations to the next level, and start a conversation with Intelligent Audit today.
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