Survey finds delivery offering crucial for purchasing decisions

A recent survey has confirmed that parcel delivery has a major impact on consumer decisions.
The survey, conducted by IT firm Localz, questioned consumers across Australia, the UK and the US on last-mile delivery.
The survey found that 94 per cent of customers would choose a different shop or brand based on different delivery options.
Survey respondents shared that their biggest delivery bugbears were long delivery windows and ‘we missed you’ cards.
Almost four in five respondents noted that they considered an acceptable delivery ‘window’ to be two hours or under. Receiving an accurate ‘estimated time of delivery’ was shown to be a big deal, rated ‘very important’ by 47 per cent of customers, and ‘important’ by another 36 per cent – only one per cent of respondents said an accurate delivery time estimation was ‘not important’.
“If Aussie business intends to compete with the impending introduction of Amazon, and more competition generally, they need to think hard about their delivery transport,” commented Walter Scremin, General Manager, Ontime Delivery Solutions.
“You might have a great product line but if you can’t get it to customers in a timely, professional fashion they will try your competitors.”
He added that too many Australian businesses rely on courier companies for delivery. “Couriers can play a useful role for small, ad-hoc delivery orders,” he said. “But if your business is managing large numbers of regular orders, or needs to ship large, unusual or fragile parcels, you would be crazy to trust that to a courier company.
“Couriers are not set up to focus on a unique business, making it incredibly difficult to achieve consistent, high-performing deliveries.”

Slow IT uptake for transport and logistics

A new survey has revealed that transport and logistics businesses are lagging in IT uptake, though the sector has ample opportunity to improve and develop.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Business Use of Information Technology and Innovation in Australian Business (2015-2016) report found that 31.9 per cent of businesses in the ‘Transport, Postal and Warehousing’ sectors introduced IT innovation in the period, while 12.9 per cent continued established innovation plans.
Only 27.2 per cent of transport and logistics businesses reported that they had placed orders via the internet, while 21.6 per cent received online orders.
A fifth of the businesses surveyed reported having a social media presence, while a quarter were found to have a web presence.
For those transport and logistics companies who launched innovation processes in the period, one in five noted that the process change focused on goods and services, 16.8 per cent focused on operation processes and 15 per cent on organisation or managerial change.

Data management top tech priority for global supply chain

A new survey carried out by supply chain operator Geodis has found that the top five technology supply chain priorities globally are all related to data management, they are data analysis, Internet of Things, cloud computing, info security and predictive analytics.
“In the wake of globalisation and rampant digitalisation, commercial trade flows have evolved dramatically,” the company said in a statement. “Both the volume and the scope of services managed within supply chain have reached unprecedented levels.”
Seventy per cent of respondents of the 2017 Supply Chain Worldwide survey stated that they consider their supply chain to be either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ complex, and they also emphasise the strategic position it has reached in their overall organisation.
The majority – 57 per cent – of firms surveyed said that they consider their supply chain to be a competitive advantage, and 66 per cent dedicate 5–15 per cent of their turnover to supply chain spends.
Three quarters of the firms Geodis spoke to reported that they use four or five different transportation modes in their supply chain, with road (full truckload) and airfreight the two most common.
Focus on achieving full visibility over the supply chain – from suppliers of suppliers to clients of clients – has increased in recent years – it is now the third most important priority reported, while it came in sixth place in the 2015 survey. Only six per cent of firms succeeded in reaching this target, however.
“[The] supply chain has become more customer focused and mostly considered as a lever to win competitive advantage,” the statement concluded.

Deakin surveys supply chain and logistics industry

The Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL) at Deakin University is keen to hear from the supply chain and logistics industry about pallet usage.
“Researchers at CSCL are hoping to establish a regular Australian pallet survey about user requirements and usage patterns nation-wide,” said Dr Hermione Parsons, Director of CSCL.
“We found that Australian information on pallet usage is not readily available, and we have nothing in Australia that compares with the US Pallet Survey, for example,” she added.
“Pallets may not seem a very glamorous topic for research but they are crucial to Australian supply chains.
“We are hoping to pick up on trends such as ‘less-than-pallet-load’ requirements, as freight becomes much more granular, and the trends in requirements for pallet tracking.”
The Australian Trucking Association is encouraging its members, as well as other key industry manufacturing and transport and logistics peak bodies, to take the anonymous five-minute online questionnaire.

Warehouse management system market – worth $4.2 bn by 2022

The warehouse management system (WMS) market size will reach US$3,112 million ($4.2 billion) by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 15.2% from 2016 to 2022, according to a new report published by Allied Market Research. The growth is expected to come as a result of the increase in inventory and workload of WMS in warehouse operations, and Europe is expected to be the largest market during the forecast period.
The report, ‘Global Warehouse Management System Market by Component Type, Industry Vertical, and Geography—Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecasts, 2014–2022’, found that among the various industry verticals, transportation & logistics is projected to dominate the market, however pharmaceuticals industry is expected to have the fastest growth rate.
“The European market is most productive as compared to others with diverse industry verticals implementing WMS at a greater extent. Furthermore, it is projected to generate the highest market revenue over the forecast period with predominant deployments in the transportation & logistics industry” said Seapee Bajaj, Lead Analyst, Construction & Manufacturing at AMR.
Asia-Pacific is estimated to grow fastest due to increase in the adoption of WMS services and extensive growth in Japan, China, Australia, and India.

1 in 5 Australian organisations rates their supply chain as innovative

One in five Australian organisations views their supply chains as innovative, despite 69.5 per cent admitting it is in their strategy, according to apicsAU’s latest Supply Chain Innovation Report.
While the majority reported that innovation feature in their company strategy, 20 per cent of respondents perceive their organisations as innovators, and 25% see their company as laggards. Most respondents reported that they see their company as early adopters.
The annual report, conducted in collaboration with CHAINalytics, surveyed over 200 respondents in senior management positions in Australian organisations across a wide range of industries. Topics include influencers, drivers, technologies, collaborations and return on investments with respect to innovation across the supply chain.
The report also found that companies self-identifying as supply-chain innovators are pre-emptive in preparing and improving their supply chains and quick to test, adopt or dispose of any new technology. They support their innovation by both collaborating with and ‘listening to’ extended supply-chain stakeholders – from the supplier’s supplier to the customer’s customer – not just their first-level suppliers or customers.
The top three influencers driving supply chain innovation in the industries surveyed included customer demand/behaviour, competitive forces and corporate responsibility, while the bottom three influencers included regulatory environment, last-mile delivery and omni-channel.
“More than ever before, the supply-chain professional is under pressure to deliver customer satisfaction whilst simultaneously increasing efficiencies in the supply chain,” said Dr Pieter Nagel, CEO, apicsAU. “To amplify this complexity further, supply-chain professionals must adapt, guard, and future-proof their organisations’ supply chains against disruptions.
“It is my hope that this report helps members identify some characteristics they can apply towards becoming an innovator, paving the way for their organisational success.”

Taming the inflation tiger

The latest Dun & Bradstreet Business Expectations Survey is showing signs of success in the fight against inflation. Selling price expectations have reached an 18 month low following a decrease of eight points since the March quarter.

Meanwhile, the combination of high interest rates and market turmoil has fuelled executive concerns regarding the impact of the credit market on operations. With a fifteen per cent increase since the previous survey, more than two thirds (71%) of executives now expect a tightening of credit will have a negative impact on operations. This finding comes as business payment terms are blowing out and banks are tightening their lending standards amidst the continued fall-out from the US sub-prime mortgage crisis. All of these factors are making cash increasingly difficult to access.

Reflecting the impacts of lower sales volumes and higher costs, expectations for profits growth have fallen. Declining to an index of three, thirty two per cent of executives now expect an increase in profits and twenty nine per cent expect a decline.

Sales growth expectations have also declined however the index is 13 points higher than 12 months ago, with thirty nine per cent of executives expecting an increase in sales growth in the June quarter. Sitting five points above the all firms index at twenty, the net retailers’ index is particularly strong.

Capital investment expectations have strengthened significantly to an overall index of six per cent. At an index of eleven per cent, durables manufacturers are showing the strongest expectations for growth in this area.

The employment indicator has strengthened slightly, with fifteen per cent of executives now expecting to have more staff in the quarter ahead than they did a year ago; eleven per cent expect to decrease employee numbers.

According to Christine Christian, Dun & Bradstreet’s CEO, the impact of the credit crisis and higher interest rates are hitting Australian businesses.

“The surge in executive concerns about tightening credit conditions and the continued high level of unease regarding interest rates indicates that the impacts of the credit crisis have well and truly hit our shores,” said Ms Christian.

“Businesses are now operating in an environment where cash is of paramount importance yet they are being forced to deal with tighter lending standards and business payments that are more than three weeks overdue.

“Supporting the survey’s findings and indicating that executives are acting cautiously, the latest figures from the RBA show that business borrowing slowed in February; a clear demonstration that tight financial conditions and market turmoil are helping to slow demand.

“Evidence of a moderation in demand was a crucial factor in the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep interest rates on hold at its latest meeting, a move which will no doubt be welcomed by executives.”

Topping the list of concerns for the third month running, thirty six per cent of executives rank interest rates as the most important influence on operations. At seventeen per cent above the all firms index, 53% of executives in the retail sector are concerned about the interest rates.

This high level of concern is a reflection of a moderation in consumer spending.

Wages growth concerns have increased by 14 per cent since December to reach their highest level in eight months.

Twenty seven per cent of executives now expect wages growth to be the most important influence on their business in the quarter ahead, reflecting expectations that the skills shortage may result in upward pressure on wages.

Fuel price concerns have dropped sharply to the lowest level recorded by the survey. Just 15 per cent of executives rate the cost of fuel as the most important influence on operations. The impact of recent movements in petrol prices has also dropped. Down 17 per cent since February, 61 per cent of executives have noted a negative impact on operations.

According to Dr Duncan Ironmonger, Dun & Bradstreet’s economic consultant, Australian business executives should welcome the Reserve Bank’s recent decision to leave official interest rates unchanged.

“The substantial tightening in monetary conditions since mid 2007 is driving a moderation in demand growth which should take some pressure off inflation,” said Dr Ironmonger.

“Despite expectations that inflation will remain relatively high in the short term, and above the Reserve Bank’s target range, the Bank anticipates that inflation will decline over time if demand slows as expected.

“The latest D&B survey supports the view that demand growth and inflation are moderating. However, the upcoming Federal Budget will influence any decision by the Reserve Bank to adjust rates in the coming months.”

The D&B index for expected sales is down three points to 15, with 39% of executives expecting an increase in sales and 24% expecting a decrease. The profits index is down five points to three, with 32% of executives expecting profits to rise and 29% expecting a fall.

Employment expectations are up one point to an index of four, with 15% of executives expecting an increase in staff and 11% expecting a reduction. Capital investment expectations are up five points to an index of six, with 12% of executives expecting an increase and 6% expecting to cut spending. Inventories expectations are down two points to an index of zero.

The selling prices index is down eight points to an index of 45, with 50% of firms expecting to raise prices and 5% expecting to decrease them.

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