Earlier this week, transportation and supply chain executives from the retail sector descended upon Brooklyn for the EFT Dynamic Distribution Disruption (EFT D3) conference. Among the outstanding informational and networking opportunities was a keynote panel discussion moderated by Todd Fowler of KeyBanc Capital Markets.
project44’s CEO and Founder, Jett McCandless joined the discussion alongside Monica Wooden (CEO & Founder of MercuryGate), Rick Schart (Senior Vice President, Supply Chain & eCommerce of Stein Mart), and Carol Black (Inbound Logistics Manager of Hibbett Sports).
For those who missed it, check out some of the key takeaways below!
The Challenge: The retail industry’s massive shift towards eCommerce is accelerating, and most retailers still do not know how to please the omnichannel shopper without further complicating their supply chain.
The Solution: Customer experience should be the main focus. Keeping customers happy drives sales and increases loyalty. As Jett put it, “Amazon is incredible with their customer experience. One of the ways they were able to achieve this is that they essentially skipped the era of legacy technology, and went straight to leveraging things like APIs and real-time automation.”
Challenges in I.T.
The Challenge: Technology is shaping the industry more than ever before. Technological growth is accelerating at a rapid pace. While that’s incredible, growing pains are unavoidable. For example, APIs allow for an unprecedented amount of data collection. Some data points are being collected for the first time ever, all with an impressive level of accuracy. A resulting issue is that retailers are unable to effectively leverage the data they have.
The Solution: Predictive analytics is needed to successfully derive business insights from new data sources. The industry overall is in the early implementation stages, but we’re really just scratching the surface. With predictive analytics, information can surpass real-time flow and actually look into the future. This allows retailers to avoid waste and react to issues before they even arise.
The Challenge: Perhaps the largest challenge is that too many people are viewing tech through the same lens that they’ve been using for decades. None of these incredible advancements—predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, etc.—are possible if the industry continues to rely on legacy technology.
The Solution: Early adopters of automation technology are the only ones capable of mastering the hyperaccelerated paradigm shift that we’re seeing. In 2-3 years, we’ll already know who the winners are. Companies who don’t ditch legacy technology will die a slow death, while companies who leverage innovative automation solutions like project44 will thrive.
Carrier and Mode Selection
The Challenge: Carrier and mode selection often comes down to a mix of the overall price and the ability to meet delivery deadlines. The problem is that most retailers and their suppliers don’t have the real-time visibility required to truly optimize the carrier selection process.
The Solution: Modern automation systems enabled by web services provide the best communication between shippers and their capacity providers. Retailers and suppliers need to adopt this technology, and carriers need to support it. We’re seeing massive adoption rates from carriers right now, and Jett sees the writing on the wall, “Shippers who adapt and use the latest technology are going to survive, while those who don’t will fail.” project44’s platform addresses those needs in an automated way, by allowing you to plot both Full Truckload and LTL locations on an integrated mapping interface of your choice, while eliminating the manual processes that hamper communication.