This Week in Logistics News (November 16-20, 2015)

It’s been a very sad and troubling week, with the terrorist attacks in Paris and Israel, which claimed the lives of so many innocent people going about their lives, including an 18 year old son, brother, and friend to many from a neighboring town. I have no words to adequately express what I feel and think today, so I will borrow these words from Dr. Seuss:

“Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today.”

In this week’s supply chain and logistics news…

Several mergers and acquisitions were announced this week, including Transportation Insight buying BirdDog Solutions, which enhances the company’s suite of services focused on parcel shipping, including parcel logistics optimization, parcel auditing and advanced parcel analytics.

Just yesterday I participated in a webcast organized by MercuryGate on “Parcel Freight and its Role in Enterprise Transportation Management,” which I’ll write about in a future post. The bottom line is that parcel is no longer a niche mode — it’s a growing percentage of transportation spend not only for retailers, but manufacturers, distributors, and 3PLs too. And compared to truckload, it’s a relatively complex mode, especially from a rating and freight audit and payment perspective (see “Who Said Freight Audit and Payment was Dead?”). So, here’s another early 2016 prediction: demand for parcel services and technology will kick into high gear next year.

On the warehousing side, Dematic announced that it’s acquiring Reddwerks Corporation, “a leading innovator of Warehouse Execution Software (WES) that provides customers with real-time decision engines to optimize material and information flow in the supply chain.” Ulf Henriksson, Dematic President and CEO stated:

“The global supply chain needs to be flexible, responsive and agile, empowered to deliver goods to consumers on demand. Retailers and manufacturers need to be positioned to respond to this dynamic demand. The only way to effectively achieve responsive order fulfillment is through an automated supply chain, powered by comprehensive real-time software. Traditional batch processing cannot sufficiently respond to either the operational variability or the speed required.”

Henriksson’s comment underscores a point I’ve been making the past couple of years: successful companies of tomorrow will make smarter decisions faster, which means they’ll transform their decision-making processes, break down their functional silos, and implement next-generation technology (hint: it’s not EDI or ERP) to further enhance and automate their supply chain planning and execution processes — including at the warehouse level.

In same-day delivery news, Deliv acquired Zipments for an undisclosed amount. Here are some excerpts from a TechCrunch article about the deal:

[Deliv] recently launched in New York City, and by acquiring Zipments, Deliv can tap into the NYC-based startup’s driver network and its customer relationships, including startups Casper, Handy and Plated.

Adding more customers is particularly advantageous given the Deliv model, which is less focused on immediate delivery, and more on allowing customers to pick a time that’s convenient for them. So Deliv can do more advanced planning and include more deliveries on a given trip [emphasis mine]. The bottom line, Carmeli said, is that more customers makes the model more profitable, so thanks to the Zipments acquisition, Deliv is already profitable in New York.

I don’t know what technology Deliv is using to power its delivery operations, but based on the highlighted comments above, it appears that the company is leveraging delivery demand-shaping and continuous optimization capabilities, especially since it has achieved something others are still struggling to find: profitability (at least in New York).

And with that, have a happy weekend!

Song of the Week: “What’s the Matter Here?” by 10,000 Maniacs