Remember how weird it was the first time you saw the Google car driving around taking photos for street view...? Well, hang on because things are about to get even weirder.
Ever heard of Gatik? That's ok, neither had we. The California based company is one of Walmart's newest partners for supply chain innovation. Back in March of this year, the Arkansas because the 30th state to allow driverless vehicles on local roads - and companies like Walmart and J.B. Hunt are ready to take advantage. Remember, politicians aren't the only thing that hails from Arkansas; it is also home to the retail giant we all love to hate. Walmart announced they will be testing a single vehicle moving customer orders between two stores on a 2 mile route in their hometown of Bentonville, AK.
Far from its homeland in Arkansas, Walmart is looking to bolster transportation logistics in China. Constructing or Improving 10 DCs over the next 10-20 years, Walmart China is focusing much of their energy on cold chain. Actually, the mega-retailer opened the first DC in Mainland China to achieve BRCGS' Warehousing and Distribution Global Standard Certification. With over 4,000 refrigerated and frozen products to transport, the mega retailer has a complex process for maintaining quality. Additionally, the demand for fresh goods continues to rise and facilities like this help meet that desire.
Facing pressure from online competitors like Alibaba, Walmart is being forced to improve their presence. Having been present in China since 1996, Walmart is also starting to feel the pressure of local retailers. However, the $1.2b investment over 10-20 years is a small drop in the bucket as the retailer did $10.7b in sales just last year in China.
When a supply chain giant like Walmart is investing in supply chain to stay relevant, that is a good indication for smaller companies that - if you haven't started investing, you're already behind. As Amazon begins to make good on its promise to enter the freight brokerage world, retailers, shippers, brokers and 3PLs alike must begin to investigate new ways of doing things.
For shippers that are beginning to look at their supply chain and question what could be better, here is THE question to start with:
That question may seem a bit obvious, but SwanLeap has a lot of conversations with potential clients who don't yet have clarity on their objectives. This makes it essential for SwanLeap as a technology provider to listen to the supply chain challenges that are present and offer creative solutions through technology. This is the foundation SwanLeap's growth has been built upon. Built on a true cloud architecture the SwanLeap Transportation Management System is infinitely flexible and scalable.
If you find yourself talking to technology providers, make sure this question is being addressed. Technology is changing at a rapid speed - that is neither a new or surprising statement in 2019. But that revelation is no longer limited to your personal technology, it is also true for Enterprise solutions. If you are considering buying an "out of the box" technology solution for your company, ask how it will support your growth down the road. Will you be spending thousands of dollars for customizations down the road? Are you going to need to hire a team to manage and support the technology? What happens when your process needs to adapt; can this out of the box solution adapt with you?
So, one more time in case you missed it. If a mammoth retailer like Walmart is asking what they need to do different to stay relevant, you should be too... like, yesterday.