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Order Fulfillment in Review: July 2015

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If you've followed our monthly updates for any length of time, you'll notice a slight shift in article title this month. That's right, halfway through the year and we thought we should shake things up for summer! "Order Fulfillment in Review" is now our monthly roundup of all the news and views you need from around our industry.

To zero in on our primary areas of service and provide more practical information for clients, our monthly news recaps will now gather more headlines from the fulfillment world and gather the logistics news into short, sharp bullets that get right to the point.

You will still see relevant updates from the worlds of transportation and  supply chain management, they'll just be much more focused. After all, the goal is to provide a speedy recap of all you might have missed the previous month!

Fulfillment in Review: July 2015

That being said, let's dive into the relevant order fulfillment headlines that could easily have passed you by during July:

  1. Transportation and warehousing jobs are on the up and that's an extremely positive sign for the nation's economy, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Employment-related to order fulfillment is seen as the fourth most important sign of a healthy economic outlook, and with thousands of warehouse positions and tens of thousands of trucking jobs being added every month, the BEA believes that outlook is good.
  2. From Kiva to automation-obsessed startup companies, warehouse robots are a hot topic for fulfillment providers right now.  Logistics Viewpoints highlighted a Tech in Asia article profiling Gray Orange, an Indian robotics startup focused on reducing order picking errors and speeding up turnaround time between order and delivery.
  3. Cargo shipments remain steady. month on month, according to the latest Cass Freight Index figures for June, but registered a 3.4 percent drop compared to the same period in 2014.
  4. Major retailers continue to jostle for position in the crowded market for same-day order fulfillment. Macy's is the latest big name to expand its same-day service, which now delivers to eight markets. That's compared to Amazon's similar operation active in thirteen locations. Meanwhile, with Wal-Mart hoping to leverage its enormous bricks-and-mortar base to offer rapid in-store pick-up of online orders, the level of competition is high and expected to drive rapid developments in the field.
  5. Amazon's much-maligned Prime Day may have been a PR miss but it proved to be a sales hit, with an estimated 93% more business for the online retailer attributed to the event. Intended to be a sales day to rival Black Friday and celebrate the ecommerce company's 20th anniversary, Prime Daily generated a lot of negative feedback for Amazon due to its generally disappointing deals.
  6. Rail freight continues to show signs of steady growth, with quarterly railcar order forecasts a leading indicator that this is expected to continue. Meanwhile, our ever-fearful leaders in Washington D.C. kicked the transportation can down the road some more, funding essential maintenance and infrastructure work for only three-month stopgap. This earned Congress a chiding from President Obama, who said the country was funding a crucial economic area by "the seat of our pants." 
  7. A powerful example of the far-reaching impact of West Coast port delays comes in the form of the U.S. leather industry, which has seen prices drop by up to 40%. Slow movement of products for export delayed international order fulfillment, which allowed a chink of light for overseas competitors who have taken full advantage, in this case.

If you're a regular reader and there's an area you've been burning to see included in our monthly fulfillment in review updates, please let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter.

The same goes for any new readers with ideas or feedback; just like our physical locations, we're always working to improve our digital operations and offer!