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The Future of the supply chain in an age of instant gratification


33


perceptions of the value of a coffee. In the last few years, attitudes to fulfilment have also shifted with the rise of giant etailers like Amazon. Not only has longtail retail meant that a vast selection


A


of goods is on offer but a combination of innovation in the sector and the huge logistical resources available to the biggest players means that shoppers expect more. Amazon’s trialling of one-hour delivery and drones


and its expansion into fresh, chilled and frozen food, raises the bar for all retailers. Once customers get used to expecting to have their order delivered in full in 60 minutes then they become increasingly reluctant to settle for less from other suppliers. The need to compete in this new market is driving


many companies to look again at their own supply chain operations. Even if they don’t have the resources of an Amazon, tightening up their supply chains allows them to leverage such advantages as they do have. So what form is this talking and in what direction is


supply chain heading? Some trends are already clearly visible.


PROFESSIONALS TO THE FORE It’s not that the supply chain’s current veterans aren’t


professional – quite the contrary. But twenty years ago there was only one course in Europe that offered a PhD in logistics. Now graduate and postgraduate courses in supply chain and logistics are springing up across this continent, America and Asia. What’s more, attitudes to supply chain are changing. Boards are starting to recognise that there needs to be a much more profound understanding of supply chain not just in the supply chain team but right across businesses – store handling, warehouse operations, home delivery and returns, manufacturing, transport, the lot. But rather than wait


good company can fundamentally change consumer attitudes and expectations. In the 1990s Starbucks fundamentally reshaped the market for hot drinks, along with consumer


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