Crowdsourcing the Last Logistical Mile

Crowdsourcing the Last Logistical Mile

April 23, 2018

Crowdsourced delivery is on the rise with 10% of retailers using this “last mile” delivery model currently, and 26% of retailers planning to use this delivery network in the future.  The challenges to crowdsourced delivery include finding a long term partner, sharing privacy data with vendors, and the potential for safety incidents at delivery.

But there are also opportunities, especially in densely populated areas, as retailers compete to offer same-day delivery.

This post is based on Logistics Viewpoints’ The Other Side of the Coin for Crowdsourced Deliveries, by Chris Cunnane, April 11, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov.

Discussion Questions:

1. How can a major retailer select a safe, reliable, and financially stable “last mile” delivery partner?

Guidance: Students should develop a checklist to present in class that addresses vendor selection for a crowdsourced delivery partner.  Lists could include items related to financial stability, route coverage, delivery guarantees, contract penalties for failures, and addressing privacy protection policies.

2. Would crowdsourced delivery be a viable solution for the healthcare industry? Why or why not?

Guidance: Students should consider the privacy and safety concerns that are more difficult to address with crowdsourced delivery firms.  For Continue reading

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Blockchain for Traceability and Transparency

Blockchain for Traceability and Transparency

April 23, 2018

Supply chain management continues to lack traceability and transparency due to analog gaps and proprietary technologies.  Blockchain technology offers a needed solution to resolve these issues.

With blockchain, transaction data cannot be manipulated. Public ledgers throughout the supply chain create visibility.  Therefore, traceability and transparency issues are more adequately addressed.

Blockchain technology can also decrease total costs in the supply chain by removing costs associated with lost or stolen inventory, and use of unethical practices.

This post is based on the NASDAQ post, Using Blockchains to Increase Supply Chain Efficiency, by Reuben Jackson, April 9, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / ElnurSee previous posts on OM in the News for more on how blockchain can increase tracking sources of foodreduce counterfeit products, and reduce forced labor.

Discussion Questions:

1. What would prevent a company from embracing a blockchain solution?

Guidance: Students should consider competitive advantages that may be compromised, loss of profit margins due to visibility, impact on unethical business practices for companies that rely on such poor behavior to compete globally.

2. How would you implement a blockchain solution for contract manufacturers in the fashion industry?

Guidance: Continue reading

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Aisle of Lost Toys

Aisle of Lost Toys

After failing to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the iconic toy retailer, Toys ‘R’ Us, is going to liquidate all its stores in the U.S..

The demise of Toys ‘R’ Us hits small toy vendors and makers especially hard as they may not be able to collect the $14 to $15 million owed.  The loss of a major specialty toy retailer like Toys ‘R’ Us also leaves toy makers without a mass distributor or a physical showcase for innovative toys.

This post is based on the Reuters article, ‘Exhausted’ Toys ‘R’ Us suppliers weigh options as huge retailer shuts, by Tracy Rucinski, Richa Naidu and Melissa Fares, March 17, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Marko Poplasen.

Discussion Questions

1. What are the impacts of the liquidation of Toys ‘R’ Us on the retailer’s suppliers?

Guidance: Discussion points include loss of a key downstream partner, loss of payment for goods shipped to the retailer, and the effort required to find new partners/mass distributors.

2. What are the impacts on the toy industry’s supply chain of liquidation by Toys ‘R’ Us?

Guidance: The many losses include loss of a mass distributor, loss of a physical showcase for Continue reading

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