Developments in 2019 E-Commerce Logistics and Fulfillment

During the past year, Sprocket Express has covered a variety of topics in the field of e-commerce fulfillment. We live and breathe logistics and we are constantly monitoring the trends to bring you our resources and advice, based on our decades of experience in operations and supply chain management.

Here are some of our top posts from 2019.

The Subscription Box Craze

The subscription box craze has heated up in recent years, and indications point to it sticking around. After nearly a decade since the first pioneers popped up in the subscription box space, the industry now contains 3,500 established box services worth roughly $10 billion.

As the industry matures, more and more internet retailers and eCommerce vendors are looking to enter the market. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the growth of the subscription box eCommerce model and project whether new internet retailers are well-suited to join this growing industry.

Corporate Responsibility, It's Not All About Money

The value of a partnership extends beyond price. Many companies today look for something a little deeper in their business relationships, taking into account factors such as sustainability, integrity and responsibility.

It is often more expensive to conduct business in a socially responsible manner. However, consumers and business owners alike prefer to support responsible companies. Within the supply chain, there are numerous ways to exhibit responsibility. Corporate responsibility can become a point of differentiation.

Is Customer Service Getting Lost in Automation?

Is trendiness an essential component of performance? Successful fulfillment requires both technology and human interaction. The increase of online commerce has led to more automation and bigger warehouses, some of which come with fancy kitchens and parking for 2000 cars. But some wonder if this is really the way to better and faster service. As we move towards greater automation, personal service is getting harder to find.

Sprocket Express has a traditional (ugly) warehouse, we still pick orders by hand and real people answer our phones. But our rates are competitive, our service is efficient, our staff is friendly. We believe personal interaction is still important in American small business and we don't want to lose the human touch.

Robots Go the Last Mile to Deliver the Goods

Automation continued to take shape in the warehousing market during 2019. As warehouses develop autonomous capabilities, e-commerce checkout is streamlined and delivery gets faster and faster, the logistics behind “last mile” are heating up.

Retailers and delivery carriers are developing technologies to enable nearly immediate and effortless delivery.

Forecasting isn't Easy, Especially When it's About the Future

I asked Dan Cence, CEO of Sprocket Express, what a new client should expect (and get) from their fulfillment partner. “Hands down, professional forecasting,” he said.

To predict inventory demand in the long term, a business must take into account manufacturing lead times, sales, delivery times, and carrying costs. “Forecasting isn't easy, especially when it's about the future,” Cence joked, “but it's one of the most valuable tools a business can use for efficiency.”