This Week in Logistics News (May 23 – 29)

tetrisI spent the last week and a half in Israel attending my wife’s cousin’s wedding. The trip was wonderful and the wedding was beautiful. However, traveling 12 hours with a 7 hour time change with 2 small children is no easy feat. We packed light in terms of clothes, but heavy in terms of books, snacks, and activities. From a logistical standpoint, it was no easy task. I felt like I was playing Tetris® with our carry-on bags to optimize our space without making the bags too bulky. In the end, it all worked out. We made it there and back, with minimal damage (other than a severe lack of sleep at both ends of the trip). Since I’m still in recovery mode, let’s jump right into this week’s news.

highjumpHighJump, a global provider of supply chain management solutions, announced that it has acquired Nexternal, a cloud-based e-commerce platform provider based in California. The acquisition is set to expand HighJump’s omni-channel strategy, specifically bolstering its order management capabilities. HighJump’s CEO Michael Cornell sees the acquisition as a way to add important commerce capabilities to deliver on the company’s omni-channel vision and provide new options for its customers. Alex Gile, founder and President of Nexternal, adds that this move puts HighJump in the position to be the first provider of a unified e-commerce platform and warehouse management system. The unification of these two will go a long way to establishing a true omni-channel offering.

amazon fulfillmentAmazon is at again, offering even more perks to Prime members. As a Prime member, I’m personally a fan of free two-day shipping, as well as access to Amazon’s streaming music and video services. Now, the online commerce giant is making Prime membership even more appealing…at least in 14 metro areas across the United States. Amazon announced free, same-day shipping, 7 days a week, on over 1 million items in 14 select metro areas: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles metro area, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Washington, DC, San Diego, and Tampa Bay. Orders must total more than $35 to qualify, and the purchase must also be made before noon, or it will arrive the next day. The move is made possible due to the investment the company has made in its network of warehouse-and-delivery hubs that it calls fulfillment centers.

DockworkersUnion dockworkers at all 29 U.S. West Coast ports have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a contract agreement reached in February with shipping companies and terminal operators to end months of labor strife that snarled trans-Pacific trade. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted 82 percent in favor of the new five-year labor pact, which runs through June 2019. The final approval came three months after negotiators for the two sides reached a tentative settlement. Terms of the deal, which were not publicly disclosed, are retroactive to July 2014.

taco-bell-deliveryYum Brands is known for its delivery service, at least at one of its chains – Pizza Hut. But that could all be changing, as the company explores the possibility of implementing delivery for both Taco Bell and KFC. Yum CEO Greg Creed told analysts on Wednesday that there is potential for food delivery across all three of its chains, saying Taco Bell delivery in particular could be “a massive sales driver for the brand.” The beginning stages of any test will be conducted near college campuses. College customers want deliveries on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, according to Creed, so the company could see an incentive to meet that demand.

Kohl'sKohl’s is leaping into the BOPUS game. With the continued explosion of e-commerce, many retailers have begun to implement buy online, pick up in-store. Considering the cost associated with home delivery, it is not surprising to see Kohl’s make this move. Using the store as a fulfillment center allows the company to save money on shipping costs, while reducing markdown’s for leftover in-store stock. It also helps generate foot traffic in the store. While many retailers are implementing curbside pick-up, others are making the customer come into the store. This provides the opportunity for add-on sales. Kohl’s experience so far is that roughly 20% of the pickups also generate additional sales.

Diesel PriceDiesel prices are up…again. The average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel nationwide made a slight jump in the week ending May 25, increasing one cent over the previous week. The U.S.’ average price for a gallon of diesel is now $2.914, which is $1.011 lower than the same week in 2014. This is the sixth consecutive week diesel prices have risen. While California saw the least significant increase, with prices only going up one-tenth of a cent, it still has the most expensive cost at $3.269 per gallon. The cheapest diesel in the nation is in the Midwest region at $2.80 per gallon, followed by the Gulf Coast region at $2.803.

That’s it for the news this week. Enjoy the weekend and this week’s video, a cover of the Tetris theme on bass by Grzegorz Kosiński.

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