Riding the wave of e-commerce, part 2: technology on demand

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Updated Sep 8, 2014
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This is the final installment of a two-part series on how e-commerce is changing the transportation industry. Part one profiled three carriers who have changed their business models and technology to thrive in this brave new world.

As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart is a prime mover of trends in transportation and logistics. It started another movement this year by opening new Wal-Mart Express and Neighborhood Market stores. A fraction the size of its superstores, these new locations will double as pickup stations for shoppers to collect televisions, bicycles, groceries and other items purchased online.

Photo courtesy of AirclicPhoto courtesy of Airclic

Supercenters will become the distribution points for these smaller convenience and neighborhood stores. With this change, Wal-Mart will likely be using new technology to utilize the limited dock space at supercenters to manage the flow of inbound and outbound shipments. It may also add new technology to get better visibility of arrival times for inbound freight.

Another change might be a new Wal-Mart fleet of light-duty vehicles to deliver goods from supercenters to smaller stores or directly to consumers at home.

Amid all of these changes, one thing remains certain: no matter when or where people shop at Wal-Mart — in the store or online–they will expect the same experience.

E-commerce and omni-channel retail strategies continue to change how supply chains and fleets operate. As one example, carriers are being asked by their customers to give more accurate arrival times to within an hour, and in some cases, in real time.

Is the technology in your office stacked up for the challenge? Here are three types of technologies that can be added, straight from the cloud, to make fleet operations more flexible and nimble to ride the wave of e-commerce.

“Fully encased” route planning and execution>>

Real-time ETAs from the cloud>>

Instant LTL rates for the spot market>>

In case you missed Part I of this series, click here.