What’s the Word?

We asked the experts in our audience for the hot supply chain words or phrases you and your colleagues will be talking about next year. Here goes.

Door to floor. Given e-commerce deliveries of larger consumer products, door to floor is a thing, explains Bob Hitt, industry go to market manager for Salesforce. Some call these "over the threshold" deliveries. Studies show that porch pirates swipe up to 30% of e-commerce deliveries; Amazon launched its Key in-home delivery service to try and stop that. We’ll see.

Gig worker. Gig is a work arrangement consisting of income-earning activities outside of traditional, long-term employer-employee relationships. Think contractors, contingency or project workers. "Embracing this growing segment of workers is key to helping companies handle variability—from last-minute orders to seasonal swings—while remaining agile and efficient," according to Robert O’Dwyer, logistics industry principal for Kronos. Many new age workers prefer this kind of arrangement because it affords more life flexibility. There’s friction ahead as states such as California and New Jersey target gig worker arrangements, forcing employers to convert gig workers to regular employees. Why? Taxes.

Supply chain digital twin. This concept will necessarily grow in acceptance in 2020 and beyond, predicts Dr. Madhav Durbha, group vice president of LLamasoft. Exponential increases in computer processing power impact supply chain modeling. "This has led to the rise of cloud and algorithmic intelligence, which means that a digital representation of your supply chain no longer needs to be a patchwork of models for sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution," says Durbha. Instead, a living model can be digitally rendered to simulate real-world events, essentially an actionable and what-ifable model of your business logistics network.

Supply chain impatience. In the continuing trend of wanting deliveries to arrive more and more quickly, two-day delivery has evolved into one-day, and one-day has morphed into demand for same-day delivery. Thanks primarily to Amazon, we’ve moved beyond transportation to a consumer-driven cultural phenomena as customers have been conditioned to expect blindingly fast B2B deliveries as well.

Destruction of density. One result of the growth in supply chain impatience is the requisite impact on shipment density and the loss of the transportation and logistics cost savings that higher shipment density provides. The challenge for logisticians in 2020 will continue to be offsetting the higher costs of shipment density loss by using the latest logistics technology to better match demand signals to supply.

As the practice evolves, so does the language of logistics.

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