How the ‘Amazon Effect’ Impacts the Future of Supply Chains

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As technology continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, organizations must optimize their supply chains to compete with the ‘Amazon Effect’.

The ‘Amazon Effect’ is a significant global movement that is shaping the way consumers buy and businesses sell. The term is linked to leading organization, Amazon, and the innovative and connected approach they take on selling goods worldwide. However, the disruption caused by this technological shift also impacts many industries, including supply chain and logistics.

According to Forbes Insights, the ‘Amazon Effect’ is one of four forces that will transform ‘logistics, supply chain and transportation’. The impact on supply chain stems from the rapid increase in consumer demand and output produced by online shopping. This requires the industry to take an innovative approach to the entire end-to-end journey of delivering a product to consumer fast and efficiently.

Technology has played an integral role in enabling supply chains to keep up with an ever changing global market place. In addition, an innovative and expert talent pool is also necessary to lead this industry into the future. However, there are hurdles and growing pains that come with any large scale change. This article by Morai Logistics discusses how the ‘Amazon Effect’ is shaping the supply chain and logistics industry. It also touches on effective strategies for change supply chains should implement to ensure organizations stay competitive and on top.

The Amazon Effect

The Internet and emerging technology platforms create endless opportunities for people to search and shop online. Last year, in 2018, ‘global e-retail sales’ generated USD 2.8 trillion. This number is forecasted to reach up to USD 4.8 trillion by 2021. In terms of the number of people expected to purchase product, there will be 2.14 billion global digital buyers by 2021. How do these figures relate to the ‘Amazon effect’?

According to Forbes, there has been a significant reduction in mall traffic over the years as a result of the convenience of online shopping. The article further emphasizes that purchasing products has also become ‘faster, easier and infinitely more convenient’. The ‘Amazon effect’ is a global phenomenon that is describes by Investopedia as,

The “Amazon effect” refers to the impact created by the online, e-commerce or digital marketplace on the traditional brick and mortar business model due to the change in shopping patterns, customer expectations and a new competitive landscape.

This causes an increase in pressure on retail companies to take a more innovative approach to selling at both the in-store and online level. However, there is also an incredible amount of demand on supply chains to meet these growing demands and expectations.

Supply Chain Impact

At the most basic level, supply chains enable the delivery of a good from point A to point B. From a retail perspective, this relationship is usually between a business and a customer. Between the fine lines, there is a cohesive interaction between manufacturers, shippers and possibly third party logistics providers (3PLs). However, what happens when a large increase in output occurs? According to Supply Chain and Demand Executive, supply chains that are ‘ill-equipped to administer efficient, high-volume production strategies’ suffer.

Strategies for Change

As online shoppers continue to seek companies that offer convenience and speed, supply chains must also integrate technologies that optimize their processes. Looking forward, supply chains must also evolve with external markets in order to remain competitive with the ‘Amazon effect’. In addition, there should be a focus on agility, efficiency, visibility, and end-to-end traceability. While the ‘Amazon effect’ is a disruptor, it also pushes organizations to think about the future and understand where the market is headed. By being aware of the growing expectations of customers, both retail and supply chains can thrive.

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