Have you ever bought a new outfit online but sent it back when it didn’t fit right? Then you have participated in the world of reverse logistics. A new Office of Inspector General white paper, Riding the Returns Wave: Reverse Logistics and the U.S. Postal Service, examines emerging trends in reverse logistics. It looks at the current package return services offered by the Postal Service and considers further opportunities created by this booming market.
Imagine you’re behind the wheel of your car reading the newspaper and eating breakfast – and not putting yourself or others at risk. The car does all the work. You just sit back and enjoy the ride, the crossword puzzle, or your egg-and-cheese burrito, whatever the case may be.
Many people believe self-driving vehicles are the future of driving. We also think they are the future of logistics.
If you want to expand your business by partnering with someone to sell your products or services in another location, you’d want that person to represent you appropriately and abide by your practices, right? In short, you’d want your partner to uphold your brand.
The law of unintended consequences tells us that actions, especially on a large scale, may have surprisingly unexpected results. Take the eCommerce boom. The $350 billion eCommerce industry (in the United States) has transformed the retail and delivery business and given the customer greater control of the buying experience.
With package delivery a growing part of the business, it’s no surprise the U.S. Postal Service has focused efforts on improving tracking and visibility for parcel services. PASS – the Passive Adaptive Scanning System used to scan packages and identify delivery routes – represents both the promise and pitfalls of major investments in this area.
It’s Christmas in July for the retail industry. Holiday decorations might not hit stores for a few more months, but retailers are now working on their 2015 holiday plans.
And you can bet that shipping strategies are a big part of those plans. Online sales made up about 10 percent of the $616 billion in holiday sales last year, so shipping plans are a top priority for retailers. In addition, more and more retailers are eyeing the international market, which means cross-border shipping is part of the mix as well.
If you’re a shipper, you may have noticed your fuel surcharge fees aren’t going down in step with the declining price of oil. That’s because both FedEx and UPS tie their fuel surcharges to the price of diesel, which hasn’t dropped as far or as fast as gasoline prices. Furthermore, both shipping giants recently adjusted how they calculate fuel surcharges, resulting in surcharges that won’t drop as much as they would have under the previous calculation. In some cases, fuel surcharges are even going up.
Steve Jobs was famous for the ingenious simplicity of his designs. And, of course, his single button iPhone, now the standard in smart phoning, is a great testament to the value of simplicity.
As in design, simplicity in pricing, and a related simplicity of choices, are appealing to consumers. There is even empirical evidence that consumers will buy more when they aren’t overwhelmed with too much clutter and too many choices.
For the major express companies, preparation for the next holiday season started right after the last one ended. If you’re one of the many Americans whose packages arrived after Santa did last year, you are undoubtedly glad to hear this. In 2013, an unexpected surge in online orders, combined with winter storms and sparse airplane capacity, resulted in FedEx and UPS missing deliveries for Christmas.