January, 2017

What Will Pop Up in Your Supply Chain in 2017?

What Will Pop Up in Your Supply Chain in 2017?

New Year is traditionally a time both to look back at what has gone on, and to anticipate what the coming 12 months will bring. In logistics especially though, it’s always wise to keep a keen eye on the future horizon, so I thought I’d put together a few lines on something that might just crop up … or rather “pop up” on your supply chain innovation radar during the year to come. “Pop-up fulfillment” is the catchy, if unoriginal term (borrowed as it probably is from the retail “pop-up store” concept) for the use of third-party warehouse (and perhaps logistics) assets to service a seasonal or similar short-term need for inventory storage and transportation.   Pop Up Fulfillment: The Uberisation of Warehousing? The concept of short-term inventory storage is nothing new. With the staggering growth in ecommerce though, and the need for supply chains to compete more effectively (for example by putting inventory as close to end-customers as possible) it is being utilised in a more dynamic way by companies prepared to break with warehousing convention. As innovative shippers lock onto the pop up idea, equally innovative service and software providers are ready to capitalise on the demand for warehouse real estate. Take U.S. based warehouse marketplace, FLEXE for example. The FLEXE platform has been likened to an AirBnB for warehouse space, since it connects shippers needing short-term space (with no strings) with companies looking to utilise excess warehouse capacity.   3 Ideal Uses for Pop-up Fulfillment Aside from the FLEXE offering in the United States, it’s not too easy to see how or where the market for on-demand warehousing will be serviced, but given the evident gap that it fills, the concept is likely to spread globally. It’s certainly not inconceivable that pop-up fulfillment will be accessible for your company (should you need it) before 2017 draws to a close. Why would you need it? Well, there are at least three possible ways a logistics operation can make use of a pop-up warehouse or fulfillment centre:     1: A solution for seasonality: This can work in one of two ways. If demand for your products typically spikes significantly at certain times of the year, you can “pop up” one or more warehouses to accommodate your inventory build. This can be especially useful for putting your inventory closer to customer concentrations, thereby improving availability and ensuring customers...

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