Watch Your Head!

Watch Your Head!

by Cliff Lynch
5. December 2013 13:18

As I have written before, I believe that for the next few years, Amazon.com will be the latest trendsetter in the supply chain, just as Wal-Mart was several years ago. With their large, private distribution networks, same day deliveries, utilizing the USPS on Sunday and other innovations there is no doubt they are changing the face of the retail supply chain. Some of these changes will spill over into other industries, as well. Thirty years ago, the food industry was the supply chain innovator, but many of the techniques developed there were adapted by others. I believe the same thing will happen here.

Last Sunday, when I saw the 60 Minutes segment featuring Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, where he introduced the new Prime Air drone package delivery system. I couldn't help but ask myself, "What are they going to think of next?" These guys make Wal-Mart seem like amateurs. Since Sunday the business press has devoted thousands of words to the concept – many of them negative since there are numerous obstacles to overcome before Amazon drones can be launched into our neighborhood skies – but it shows a considerable amount of creative thinking on their part. FedEx stock even rose on Monday, nudged by analysts who speculated that FedEx might come up with a similar program.

Don't expect to see delivery drones winging their way through your neighborhood anytime soon; but don't be surprised when we see other exciting ideas influenced by Amazon and its supply chain aggressiveness. As for the rest of the retail industry, I suggest the advice from the late, baseball great, Satchel Paige who said "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

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