Blog

Cross Border Commerce

By Damon Schechter

Cross border commerce remains interesting because there is no big winner yet. Not Amazon. Not Alibaba. The reason is because doing commerce across a border is by its nature political, and hence local.  I’m reminded of a time eBay noticed a high density of orders between the U.S. and Germany. They setup a dedicated shuttle service between the two locations. They jumped through all the legal and logistical hoops to create a very specific, niche service, that was probably short-lived.  There are an endless supply of very specific, niche shuttle services that could be built profitably by entrepreneurs. Granted many...

Artificial Intelligence

By Damon Schechter

At Shipwire, we would often see businesses start on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and then migrate into a dozen or more “off-kickstarter” sales channels: setting up their own shopping cart, listing inventory in the Amazon marketplace, eBay, Groupon, marketplaces in Europe and Asia, and then start attending trade shows to find wholesalers to move the product into retail stores. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of orders would come in from all directions each day. Our systems would then need to map all these orders to inventory sitting in various warehouses around the world, to pick, pack and ship each order as quickly...

Mobile Distribution Centers

By Damon Schechter

The Mercedes Vision Van features fully automated loading and package retrieval. The Vision Van would send drones for local delivery from top of the truck. Seeing these photos reminds me of a story as told to me by Ivan Hofmann, a former Board member of mine, and a godfather of logistics. Ivan helped start RPS, which became Fedex Ground, and then went on to meet with the US Postmaster General to discuss working together on eCommerce initiatives. I’m imagining this went down like two mob bosses meeting at a diner in neutral territory. Ivan and his team offered to pay...

Contingency Planning For The Next September 11

By Damon Schechter

Excerpt from Delivering the Goods: The Art of Managing Your Supply Chain (Wiley, 2002) Before moving ahead with any action plan, you need to identify the key risks of moving ahead. These are some questions for your contingency planning, your reality test: What do you do in the event of budget problems or scheduling problems? What do you do in case of an earthquake or attack by terrorists? Unfortunately, as we saw on September 11, 2001, they are a part of reality, too. Ask yourself: How intelligent are your policies and procedures you have in place in the event of...

Mapping the Dark Continent

By Damon Schechter

Excerpt from Delivering the Goods: The Art of Managing Your Supply Chain (Wiley, 2002) In 1962 management expert Peter Drucker published a landmark article about business logistics, or distribution as it was then called, in Fortune magazine. It was Drucker’s thesis that the hermetic, promotion-obsessed people who managed and directed the U.S. economy were, for all practical purposes, blind, by dint of their ignorance of and obliviousness to the logistic dimension of their jobs. Drucker noted that “almost 50 cents of each dollar the American consumer spends for goods goes for activities that occur after [my italics] the goods are made.” Distribution—or logistics, as it...