Next gen Supply Chains to bring down fulfillment window to 2 hours by 2028

Zebra Technologies announced the results of the Asia-Pacific edition of the Future of Fulfillment Vision Study, a body of research analyzing how manufacturers, transportation and logistics (T&L) firms, and retailers are preparing to meet the growing needs of the on-demand economy.

The study revealed that 67 percent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 55 percent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028. In addition, 96 percent of survey respondents expect to use crowd sourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to complete a specific order by 2028.

92 percent of the respondents cited capital investment and operating costs of implementing an omni-channel operation as a key challenge. Only 42 percent of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omni-channel level today. In contrast, an estimated 73 percent of consumers shop across multiple channels.

Seven in ten surveyed executives agree that more retailers will continue to turn stores into fulfillment centers that accommodate product returns. By 2023, 99 percent of retailers plan to implement buy online/pick up in store to allow a more seamless fulfillment process.

In APAC, 93 percent of respondents agreed that accepting and managing product returns remain a challenge. Reverse logistics remain underdeveloped and significant opportunities for improvement remain. Today, 58% of retail respondents add a surcharge for returns, and 71% have no plans to change this in the future. Meanwhile, 71% of survey respondents agree that more retailers will turn stores into fulfillment centers that can accommodate product returns.

Today, 55 percent of organizations are still using inefficient, manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. By 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will be used by 99 percent of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will improve omnichannel logistics by providing more real-time access to warehouse management systems.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow from 32 percent today to 95 percent in 2028. RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.

Future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions that will add newfound speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transportation and labor. Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones, driverless/autonomous vehicles, wearable and mobile technology, and robotics.

Deep Agarwal, Regional Sales Director – India, Zebra Technologies said, “Driven by the always-connected, tech-savvy shopper, retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfillment and delivery expectations. Zebra’s Future of Fulfillment Vision Study found that 95 percent of survey respondents in Asia-Pacific agreed that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies in India are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”

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