Recently facilitated the Omnichannel Last Mile panel at the 2015 RILA Retail Supply Chain Conference along with Michael Kors, JB Hunt and Sears. Very engaging and productive. Its clear that Last Mile continues to be a rapidly moving and strategic area of focus.
Some key observations:
- Retailers are making a strategic bet in Same Day delivery, despite the fact that the jury is still out on both the demand side (how fast? what % of orders?) and on the supply side (what’s the right model? – 3PL managed? crowd-sourced? marketplace?).
- While cost remains key, the majority of retailers are also looking for innovative service elements in Last Mile solutions (e.g. deliver multiple SKUs to the customer home where they can try and pick one; leveraging last mile carriers for inter-store transfer/hot-replenish flows; etc.).
- Many brick & mortar retailers are continuing to focus on getting their upstream multi-echlon networks and replenishment systems right.
- Carrier consolidation, co-mingling and innovation will be required for true breakthrough for large format (big box) product home delivery. The market is starting to, and will continue, to see increased activities across these fronts.
- Technology advances (e.g. frictionless coordination, inventory visibility, smart route optimization) will be key drivers of future winning solutions. Digital technology is at the cusp of exponential, disruptive growth; the solutions that power Last Mile in 2022 will look very different than today.