Reflections on Home Delivery World

A few weeks have passed since we enjoyed seeing our colleagues and friends in the retail industry at Home Delivery World in Philadelphia. It was particularly rewarding to see such a great reaction to our session “Embracing the Future: How a Big Apparel Brand Leverages Next Gen Parcel Spend Optimization Tech” presented by David Lewington, senior director, global logistics at our stellar customer GOAT Group, and our own  Michael Falls, vice president of client success at Reveel.

In reflecting on this year’s event it is clear that there is a greater emphasis on the supply chain and the fulfillment operations that play such an important role in the retail industry today. Just as importantly, there is also a much greater level of appreciation for the important role that shippers play not just in e-commerce operations, but also across the operations of today’s omnichannel brands.

But what struck me most were the conversations we had with retail leaders that illuminated a distinct and profound shift that validates our own perspective and goals here at Reveel. I am referring to the evolution of parcel spend management technology as we know it, a shift that transforms the work of shippers and parcel shipping consultants from a reactive endeavor that relies on manual processes into a proactive one that draws on advanced data science and delivers value across today’s retail organizations. 

This shift, this transformation, is not new. But what is notable is that shippers, and the senior-most retailers leaders they work with, are now talking about the value it delivers and the sea change it represents. While we have been intently focused on providing the platform that enables shippers to make precisely this very shift – which we refer to as the evolution from Parcel Spend Management 1.0 to Parcel Spend Management 2.0 – Home Delivery World marked the first time I have encountered many others who actively articulated their own needs for the proactive approach to parcel spend management it enables.

Home Delivery World marked the first time I have encountered many others who actively articulated their own needs for the proactive approach to parcel spend management it enables.

While I would like to think this is a direct reflection of our steadfast efforts to promote the value of the capabilities Parcel Spend Management 2.0 makes possible – we have an exceptional marketing team here at Reveel – I suspect another factor is also at play: retailers today have immediate access to data and intelligence on virtually every function within their fulfillment operations from throughput levels and picking accuracy to whether their AS/RS system will soon need maintenance as discovered by advanced predictive analytics. 

In such environments, the traditional approach to parcel spend management – parcel spend management 1.0 – seems woefully outdated. Shippers and consultants alike realize that manual data analysis after the fact, limited visibility into shipping data, practically no real time shipping intelligence, and siloed operations in which the shipping function is isolated, are simply no longer viable.

In contrast, the parcel spend management 2.0 today’s advanced data science enables lets shippers take an entirely different stance, one in which they actively seek new opportunities not only to lower their costs, but to improve their operations. This includes automating everything from whether packages that were shipped via air express can now be sent by less expensive ground transportation and still satisfy service level guarantees, to ensuring that a new multi-carrier approach doesn’t inadvertently impact volume-level discounts.

This proactive approach, and the ability it gives shippers to pose “what-if” analyses of their shipping data, and the in process see how any proposed changes in their strategies and processes – as well as any new rules, surcharges and fees carriers introduce – impact their costs, is a what parcel spend management 2.0 is also about. And it is truly transformative.

Perhaps most importantly, parcel spend management 2.0 makes shippers, and the experience and skills they possess, more needed than ever – not just in the fulfillment operation, but across the retail organization. This includes everything from helping marketing departments set pricing strategies that address the all-important demand for discounted or “free shipping,” to helping operational leaders determine where it makes sense to open additional brick-and-mortar stores by analyzing online sales.

For me personally, this is why I am so bullish on parcel shipping. Parcel spend management 2.0 makes shippers more important and more impactful than ever before.

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