Freightrolling Photo: American Trucker

Study: same-day delivery may be a standard in five years

Poll also finds freight costs now one of top three supply chain concerns.

A global survey conducted by mobile computer and barcode maker Zebra Technologies Corporation that 78% expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 40% anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028.

Zebra’s research, contained within its Future of Fulfillment Vision study, analyzed how manufacturers, transportation and logistics (T&L) firms, and retailers are preparing to meet the growing needs of the so-called “on-demand economy.”

Conducted in conjunction with research partner Qualtrics, the study polled 2,700 professionals in transportation and logistics, retail and manufacturing firms across 15 nations, including the U.S., on their plans, implementation levels, experiences and attitudes toward omnichannel logistics.

One interesting detail unearthed by Zebra’s survey: 87% percent of those polled expect to use “crowdsourced delivery” or a network of drivers that “choose to complete a specific order” by 2028.

Other findings include:

  • Only 39 % of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omnichannel level.The survey found reducing backorders was the biggest challenge to reaching omnichannel fulfillment for one-third of respondents followed by inventory allocation and freight costs.
  • 76% of those retailers polled use store inventory to fill online orders, and 86% of retail respondents plan to implement buy online/pick up in store in the next year. Retailers are investing in retrofitting stores to double as online fulfillment centers and shrinking selling space to accommodate e-commerce pickups and returns.
  • Globally, 87% of respondents agreed that accepting and managing product returns is a challenge. The increase in free and fast product delivery corresponds with an increase in product returns, a costly concern that retailers struggle to manage efficiently across many different purchasing models.Seven in 10 surveyed executives agree that more retailers will turn stores into fulfillment centers that accommodate product returns. More than 60% of retailers that currently do not offer free shipping, free returns or same-day delivery plan to do so while 44% expect to outsource returns management to a third party.
  • Although 72% of organizations utilize barcodes today, 55% of organizations are still using manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. But by 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners are expected to be used by 94% of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will improve omnichannel logistics by providing more real-time access to warehouse management systems.
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow by 49% in the next few years.RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.
  • Future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutionsthat will add newfound speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transportation and labor. Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones (39%), driverless/autonomous vehicles (38%), wearable and mobile technology (37%) and robotics (37 %).
  • The need for inventory accuracy will continue to rise in North America.Manufacturers, logistics companies and merchants ranked current inventory accuracy at 74% and reported needing to be at 83% to handle the rise of omnichannel logistics.
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