How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

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Let’s face it. As an online business owner, the last thing you want to spend your time and energy on is managing your ecommerce supply chain

But how well your supply chain runs impacts how successful your business will be and how quickly it will grow. It’s no doubt that managing and optimizing the supply chain is crucial for online business success.

This can cause a conundrum: as you build your ecommerce business, where should you spend a bulk of your time? Supply chain management is a time-consuming process, but it’s important. However, without the right technology, labor, and expertise — the hours spent on can quickly add up.

Fortunately, outsourcing supply chain management is an option that many fast-growing ecommerce businesses choose to go rather than investing in the infrastructure themselves. There are several benefits to outsourcing supply chain management, including time and cost-savings — not to mention fewer headaches.

In this article, you will learn the benefits of outsourcing supply chain management (as well as a few risks to consider), so you can spend less time and money on overseeing logistics.

What is outsourced supply chain management?

Outsourced supply chain management refers to hiring a (3PL) company to manage, improve and optimize the supply chain. This allows ecommerce businesses to delegate storage and time-consuming ecommerce fulfillment tasks while saving money and improving their supply chain velocity.

Which supply chain processes can you outsource?

Outsourcing the supply chain can be done at every stage of the process. While some only take care of a few stages or tasks, a tech-enabled 3PL can help streamline the entire supply chain by managing on your behalf.

Here is a list of which supply chain processes can be outsourced to a 3PL:

Benefits and risks of outsourcing supply chain management in ecommerce

The benefits of outsourcing supply chain management are endless, but that’s not to say there isn’t any risk associated with it. The key is to find the right 3PL partner that can provide with what you’re looking for to meet your unique needs.

Fortunately, the good should outweigh the bad, and if you take the time to choose the right 3PL, you will reap the benefits.

Below is a comprehensive overview of the benefits and risks of outsourcing supply chain management.

Benefits of outsourcing supply chain management

Supply chain management requires a wide range of processes and labor to run a smooth and lean supply chain. When not done right, can add up quickly.

By outsourcing the supply chain, you can worry less about managing logistics systems yourself while benefiting from lowered costs, including warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping fees.

Running the entire supply chain can be costly for your business if it’s not being done strategically. For instance, renting a warehouse is becoming more costly than in the past with logistics warehouse tenants expecting to see a 10% rate hike starting in 2021.

Logistics issues such as inefficient , a poor geographic footprint, and unoptimized labor and operations can also add up over time.

Outsourcing the supply chain to a tech-enabled 3PL can solve many of these logistical challenges, such as offering affordable warehousing, optimizing the fulfillment process using automated technology, and offering affordable shipping by negotiating discounted rates with major carriers.

“We need to deliver quickly and inexpensively. Since switching to ShipBob from our previous 3PL, our fulfillment cost on comparable orders went down by 25%.”

Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at

Adds time to focus on scaling your business

When you outsource your supply chain, what you are left with is more time to focus on other important business processes such as marketing, product development, and building better customer relationships and support.

As your business grows, a 3PL can offer insights into how to expand your fulfillment strategy and optimize inventory, whether it’s storing inventory in more fulfillment centers, setting up subscription orders, or expanding into new markets and sales channels.

“ShipBob pulls me out of having to deal with the physical labor side of the business, which allows me more time to focus on making and marketing music. It’s an automated flow that lets me spend less time on things that aren’t making money.”

Lee Nania, Founder of

Speeds up shipping times

Outsourcing the supply chain also offers ecommerce businesses the ability to provide affordable and fast shipping to expand their customer reach and meet customer expectations.

This can be done by partnering with a 3PL with a robust and growing fulfillment network, which offers the ability to across several fulfillment center locations.

Storing inventory in more than one strategic locations can drastically cut down on shipping distance and costs, which also makes it possible to offer better shipping incentives for customers, such as via ground and

“We started in ShipBob’s east coast fulfillment center, which was local for us. We have since moved to a more central fulfillment center location in Chicago to improve transit times and shipping costs.”

Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at

Increases flexibility

When you work with a 3PL to outsource your supply chain, you will have access to a well-connected logistics network, technology, and expertise, which make it easier for you to make important business decisions moving forward.

ShipBob makes it easy to grow and expand into new locations in the US and other countries. Other ways we provide flexibility include no monthly order minimum requirements to open up outsourced fulfillment to startups, the option to use standard or branded , and the ability to monitor and make changes to inventory or orders all from one dashboard.

“ShipBob offers the option to customize packaging and tell a story through our products when shipping to our customers, giving us more control over our business and brand.”

Matt Dryfhout, Founder & CEO of

Increases accuracy in order processing

While smaller ecommerce businesses often have to manually process orders, 3PLs have software that integrates and syncs with your online store and other sales channels to simplify the

With ShipBob, orders are automatically sent to a fulfillment center to be picked, packed, and shipped as soon as possible. Our customers can view order status and levels in real time all in one place.

“An hour after an influencer ordered from me, he had already received an email saying his order had shipped. If I was fulfilling orders myself, it would have taken me much longer. This was the perfect example of ShipBob working how it should, automatically sending tracking info and giving my customers everything they needed.”

Tracey Wallace, Founder of

Boosts customer satisfaction

Although customers don’t have direct visibility into how an order is processed, fulfilled, and shipped, when your supply chain is efficient and effective, your customers can benefit.

By outsourcing your supply chain, you’re able to leave logistics up to the experts, who can help you save on costs and provide a better experience for your customers with improved and faster delivery.

“Over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we release many new products sell two months of unit volume in that weekend alone. I am confident that ShipBob makes this a success for us, helping us live up to our customers’ expectations and deliver on time.”

Carl Protsch, Co-Founder of

Outsourcing supply chain management is a big step. The key is to take the time and choose the right 3PL partner for your business. It’s important to find a 3PL that offers a consistent and reliable service across their entire distribution network.

“I felt like I couldn’t grow until I moved to ShipBob. Our old 3PL was slowing us down. Now I am encouraged to sell more with them. My CPA even said to me, ‘Thank God you switched to ShipBob.’”

Courtney Lee, founder of

Unplanned costs

When ecommerce businesses first start out, there’s a common belief that outsourcing logistics and fulfillment will increase costs. The truth is, there are hidden costs to self-fulfillment and leasing warehouse space.

Outsourcing supply chain management should not only save you time, but it should also provide cost-savings. Since you won’t have to put money towards rent, labor, and equipment, outsourcing saves you money in the long run. When looking into a 3PL, make sure to ask about their pricing model and if there’s any other charges or fees.

“While many 3PLs utilize a complex pricing model that makes forecasting expenses nearly impossible, ShipBob has a clear pricing model so we know exactly what we’re going to be billed.”

Gerard Ecker, Founder & CEO of Ocean & Co.

Long onboarding processes

Every 3PL will have a different onboarding process, but you should expect the process to be smooth and easy to get started. It’s important to ask the 3PL questions like what information they will need from you upfront, if there’s a direct integration with your online store, and how easy it is to set up and configure your account.

If there are signs that the process will be too tedious, you might be better off finding a 3PL that offers a simpler onboarding process, so you can ship your inventory as soon as possible and have them start fulfilling and shipping orders quickly.

“Nine days after we got started with ShipBob’s implementation team, we were shipping orders.”

Tim Fink, Co-Founder of EnduroSport

Supply chain management outsourcing with ShipBob

Tackling the entire supply chain alone can be a challenge. It can take up time and energy that is better spent somewhere else.

Many direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands choose to partner with a that offers a global fulfillment network, best-in-class technology, and supply chain expertise. ShipBob can help you better manage your supply chain by taking time-consuming logistics tasks off your plate.

to ShipBob, you get your time back and you save money in the long run:

  • Store inventory in one or more strategic fulfillment center locations (with
  • Gain full visibility into inventory and .
  • Get real-time insights into shipping costs, fulfillment performance, .
  • And much more.


Outsourcing supply chain management can require taking a leap of faith, but it is worth it in the long run. There are several benefits to outsourcing, but to minimize risk, be sure to take your time in choosing the right 3PL that fits your needs.

ShipBob offers a growing global fulfillment network, best-in-class technology, responsive customer support, and expertise to help you feel at ease and provide you with more control and visibility into the entire fulfillment process.

With ShipBob, you’re given warehousing, built-in inventory management tools, access to advanced data and analytics, fast fulfillment, and affordable shipping.

Outsourced supply chain FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions related to outsourcing supply chain management:

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

There are several benefits of outsourcing to a 3PL provider, including cost savings, more flexibility, access to a robust logistics network, and ultimately more time and energy to focus on your business.

How does globalization affect outsourcing?

Globalization has opened up international shipping capabilities and ecommerce in genreal. In terms of outsourcing the supply chain, outsourcing can help businesses expand their ecommerce sales worldwide. By outsourcing supply chain management to a global fulfillment provider, you can easily compete with international brands by fulfilling and shipping orders closer to your customers across the globe and expanding international sales.

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What is outsourcing the supply chain?

Outsourced supply chain refers to hiring a third-party logistics company to manage, improve, and optimize ecommerce the supply chain, starting at receiving and warehousing, to inventory and order management, to fulfillment and shipping, and even ecommerce returns.

What are the risks of outsourcing?

The biggest risk is outsourcing is partnering with the wrong 3PL. When outsourcing your supply chain, be aware of hidden logistics costs, lack of technology, and poor customer support. If you take the time to find the right 3PL to partner with, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Система или сеть предприятий, которые используются для перемещения продукта от производителя к клиенту. В электронной коммерции эта цепочка поставок обычно состоит из производителя и дистрибьютора продукта, а также для розничных продавцов, которые предлагают этот продукт для продажи в Интернете.

Для обеспечения надежного и быстрого обслуживания клиентов жизненно важно, чтобы цепочка поставок вашего бизнеса работала бесперебойно. Цепочка поставок начнется на заводе, на котором производится продукт, и не закончится, пока продукт не будет доставлен покупателю в безопасном месте. Таким образом, цепочка поставок состоит из каждого бизнеса, который контактирует с продуктом, включая сборщиков, розничных продавцов и транспортная компания который доставляет продукт.

Любая эффективная цепочка поставок должна иметь надежных поставщиков в качестве ключевого компонента. Это не только означает, что они доставляются вовремя, но и обеспечивают качественный продукт, отвечающий потребностям конечного потребителя.

Эффективность цепочки поставок продолжает улучшаться, и это улучшение помогло снизить цены на конечные продукты, поскольку увеличение эффективности также приводит к снижению затрат.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Ребекка Картер — опытный создатель контента, репортер новостей и блоггер, специализирующийся на маркетинге, развитии бизнеса и технологиях. Ее опыт охватывает все, от искусственного интеллекта до программного обеспечения для электронного маркетинга и устройств расширенной реальности. Когда она не пишет, Ребекка большую часть времени проводит за чтением, изучением природы и играми.

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How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Picture this: Finished goods are delivered on time, inventory levels are optimized, stockouts are rare, and customer orders are picked, packed, and shipped quickly. Sounds wonderful, right? While this may not be your situation currently, it’s not far out of reach if you take the time to improve your ecommerce supply chain.

Building a strategic ecommerce supply chain is not an easy task as it comes with many moving parts: the transfer of finished goods from the manufacturer to the seller or to a third party, keeping track of inventory levels, managing a warehouse, picking and packing orders, shipping products to customers, and handling returns and reverse logistics. If one stage of the supply chain gets off track, it can derail the entire process’ velocity and cause major delays downstream.

How well your ecommerce business manages its supply chain is a determining factor of future growth. Once you have a solid strategy in place, there are always ways to improve your supply chain as you grow your online sales and evolve your business model. The goal is to have your ecommerce supply chain be in sync with your sales channels.

In this article, you will learn how to streamline your ecommerce supply chain, so you can optimize operations at every stage, reduce , and keep your team happy and your customers satisfied.

What is the ecommerce supply chain?

The ecommerce supply chain is a sequence of logistics processes, which include the production of raw materials, manufacturing of finished goods, , inventory management, order fulfillment, and . The end goal is to deliver a quality product to your customers and a great experience, and every stage of the supply chain plays a key role in running a trustworthy brand.

What is ecommerce supply chain management?

supply chain managementinbound and outbound logisticsfinished goods inventory, starting at production all the way to shipping customer orders. A highly optimized supply chain helps to reduce costs and increase productivity, which can impact both profit margins and customer satisfaction.

4 benefits of a streamlined ecommerce supply chain

Finding ways to streamline the supply chain not only improves internal operations, but it can also have a major impact on the customer experience as well. Here are four benefits to streamlining your ecommerce supply chain.

Faster shipping times

Any delays in the supply chain should be identified and improved upon, especially when it comes to shipping. Two major factors that impact shipping times include:

  • Where your manufacturers, warehouses, and end customers are located
  • Mode of transportation (e.g., air, ocean, or freight)

Shipping is one of the most important stages in the supply chain to get right. It can help to reduce , give you a competitive advantage, and even match a similar service to Amazon.

Cost-effective shipping rates

To optimize an ecommerce supply chain,  you will want to find ways to reduce shipping costs over time. Some examples include using the right packaging for products based on weight and dimensions, across geographic locations once it’s cost-effective, and looking into shipping discounts from carriers based on order volume.

Choosing the right mode of transportation can make a major impact on shipping rates. via air might be fast, but it can also be costly. On the other hand, freight shipping comes with more cost-effective transportation methods. For instance, (less-than-truckload) allows shippers to consolidate their cargo with the cargo of other shippers heading in the same direction. That way, you only pay for your portion of the trailer rather than in full.

Accurate inventory management

plays a key role in the ecommerce supply chain. By optimizing inventory levels, you can:

  • Optimize stock control
  • Avoid unnecessary stockouts and
  • Forecast future demand

There are several ways to tackle common challenges, such as setting based on historical order data and future projections, regularly , and implementing inventory management software

Better customer experiences

A streamlined ecommerce supply chain ensures that you can deliver the best customer experience for every order. By finding ways to improve the supply chain, you can charge less for shipping, speed up delivery times, and reduce the risk of human error due to a poorly run chain.

As your ecommerce supply chain gets stronger, you can focus more energy on improving customer communication by enabling customers to track orders in real-time and providing customers with updates, from when an order is processed to when it’s delivered.

4 ecommerce supply chain strategies for small or large shops

Supply chain managers should always be looking for ways to improve and optimize logistics systems and fulfillment. Here are some tried-and-tested strategies that fast-growing direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and small businesses have done to increase efficiency and improve online sales, whether on a single store or taking an omnichannel approach.

Use multiple fulfillment centers

It’s no surprise that customers expect fast delivery times at an affordable price (often free). By using multiple warehousing and storage locations, you can expand customer reach and significantly reduce delivery times.

“We love that ShipBob actually operates its fulfillment centers — they know their operations and they are very clear about it. ShipBob having multiple locations was also huge for us. Keeping our inventory in Chicago and Los Angeles has brought cost savings since we ship from the locations that are closest to the customer.”

Implement real-time inventory management

As orders are placed and shipped out, is a challenge if not managed quickly and in real-time. The right inventory management system system can help you prevent stockouts, optimize from your manufacturer, and speed up customer deliveries. You can also access a wealth of data and analytics to help you make better decisions on how to improve your supply chain.

“ShipBob’s analytics tool is really cool. It helps us a lot with planning inventory reorders, seeing when SKUs are going to run out, and we can even set up email notifications so that we’re alerted when a SKU has less than a certain quantity left. There is a lot of value in their technology.”

Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of

Optimize your warehouse

managing your warehouse staff to monitoring the movement of inventory, you will want to keep a close eye on how you can improve inventory storage, reduce , and find ways to streamline the fulfillment process.

warehouse management system can help to manage inventory levels and storage, improve productivity, and efficiently fulfill orders. It can also help to take the guesswork out of the process, save time, and reduce human error, without the need to continuously conduct

“Our old 3PL had 1,500 units of missing inventory that they couldn’t find. Because of a lack of ownership of the entire fulfillment stack, it’s been difficult to rectify, unlike with ShipBob who owns the entire stack: inventory and order management system, warehouse management system, and their fulfillment centers.”

Partner with a 3PL

Managing a fast-moving ecommerce supply chain with many moving parts can be a challenge. Many fast-growing ecommerce brands choose to partner with a that offers a network of fulfillment locations, connected technology, and deep ecommerce supply chain expertise.

A best-in-class third-party logistics () company like ShipBob can help you with supply chain planning in a number of ways. By simply to ShipBob, you’re given solutions to many common ecommerce supply chain challenges.

With ShipBob, you can store inventory in one or more strategic fulfillment center locations (with capabilities), gain full visibility into inventory and , and get real-time insights into shipping costs, fulfillment performance, , and more.

How ShipBob maximized ecommerce supply chain management for TB12

TB12 is Tom Brady’s health and wellness brand that provides buyers with apparel, protein powders, exercise equipment, fitness products, and more. TB12 initially relied on a Massachusetts-based 3PL provider to optimize its ecommerce supply chain and fulfill orders. However, as the brand grew, they knew they needed a more reliable and scalable 3PL that can help reduce fulfillment costs and offer faster shipping.

Impressed by ShipBob’s commitment to improvement and its industry-leading software, TB12 chose ShipBob to be their new 3PL. Since partnering with ShipBob several years ago, TB12 has experienced a 25% reduction in fulfillment costs.

“Customers get accustomed to a certain service level at a low price — often free — and want it faster over time. Ever since we started our partnership with ShipBob in the summer of 2018, they’ve been able to deliver the customer service level we need at the right cost.”

By finding ways to optimize your ecommerce supply chain, you can build a more efficient team by eliminating headaches and improving productivity. With a streamlined supply chain, you will ultimately deliver a better customer experience by avoiding stockouts, offering better shipping rates, and speeding up delivery times.

Ecommerce supply chain FAQs

An efficient supply chain is key to running a successful ecommerce brand. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how to streamline the ecommerce supply chain.

The ecommerce supply chain is a sequence of processes, which include the production of raw materials, manufacturing of finished goods, warehouse management, inventory storage, order fulfillment, and shipping. Every stage in the ecommerce supply chain plays a key role in getting orders to the customer’s door in a timely manner.

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How do I optimize my ecommerce supply chain?

There are several ways to optimize your ecommerce supply chain. One way is to consider storing inventory in multiple strategic locations that are close to your customers. That way, you can reduce shipping costs by reducing your orders’ average shipping zones. Other common ways to optimize your supply chain is to implement automation, use inventory management tools, and monitor supplier performance.

How does the ecommerce supply chain work?

An ecommerce supply chain is made up of a lot of moving parts, from transporting goods from manufacturer to a distribution center, to managing inventory and orders in real-time. Technology and automation play a key role as it helps to improve communication and transfer information between suppliers and buyers, sellers and customers, shipping carriers and sellers, and more.

Цепочки поставок с учетом производственно-коммерческих ограничений

Время на прочтение

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Управление цепочками поставок (supply chain management — SCM) является сферой, в которой данные могут явно и существенно влиять на снижение уровня себестоимости продукции, а также на увеличение объема продаж. При этом значимый эффект управления цепочками поставок проявляется только при сквозной интеграции процессов.

Основные проблемы управления цепочек поставок. Доменный язык

Предлагаемый подход реализует парадигму, для которой основные проблемы управления цепочками поставок являются следствием:

  • недостаточно приспособленной структуры управления компанией к комплексному решению проблем цепочек поставок;
  • применением на практике только традиционных методов управления.

Нет сомнения, что внешние факторы оказывают существенное воздействие. При этом реальная возможность компенсации их негативного воздействия связана с реагированием на события и обстоятельства за счет применение новых методов цифрового управления.

В целевом варианте структура управления компанией должна формировать адекватные решения не разделяя внешние и внутренние проблемы по методом реагирования на них. Тем более, что часто первые являются следствием вторых.

В предлагаемом подходе самое главное понимать бизнес изнутри. Такое понимание не могут дать никакие консультанты (они понимают только в своем бизнесе — как продать консультации).

Поэтому инструментарии управления цепочками поставок должны формироваться самим бизнесом. Для этого предлагается специализированный доменный язык бизнеса (SSDL — Special Symbolic Domain Language), формируемый под конкретный бизнес силами самого бизнеса в рамках разработанных формализованных технологий.

В неявной форме доменный язык конкретного бизнеса почти всегда уже существует в форме курсирующих по компании Excels. Важно только уметь выявить и формализовать конструкции языка бизнеса компании.

Цель доменного языка — одновременно формулировать целевые установки, симулировать их реализуемость и анализировать результаты моделирования.

Как следствие этого доменный язык должен оперировать понятиями и категориями бизнеса (быть ясным для бизнеса) и одновременно реализовывать прямые вычисления создаваемых бизнес-конструкций (быть явно исполнимым на компьютерах и не требовать дополнительного программирования).

Далее рассмотрим способы преодоления следующих проблем управления цепочками поставок:

  • структурная сложность;
  • нелинейность функциональных зависимостей;
  • зависимость процессов во времени;
  • учет разнородных производственно-коммерческих ограничений;
  • неожиданные задержки поставок;
  • не реалистические предположения;
  • ожидаемые и неожидаемые изменения в производственных мощностях и работниках;
  • вариативность решений, реализация стратегии и тактики при принятии решений;
  • прозрачность решений, исполняемых процессов и результатов деятельности;
  • использование прошлого опыта через обработку исторических данных;
  • применение разработанных в компании схем бизнес-процессов.

Описание цепочек поставок

Итоговая цель описания цепочек поставок состоит в том, чтобы максимально визуализировать абстрактные понятия и категории бизнеса (сделка, стратегия, ценовая политика) и уметь сопрягать с ними любое количество конкретных данных и показателей (существующих в ERP или Excels).

Далее на рисунках приведены схемы цепочек поставок. В них использованы конструкции доменного языка, которые являются узлами цепочки поставок. Состав и содержание узлов для конкретного бизнеса определяется и уточняется самим бизнесом.


How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

1.2. Обработка данных

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management


How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Схема цепочек поставок может «собираться» из узлов, связывая эти узлы в цепочку последовательно и параллельно исполняемых операций. Эта схема позволяет учесть структурную сложность процессов и их частичную упорядоченность (зависимость) во времени.

Пример для обогатительной фабрики.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Пример для металлургического завода.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Пока что получившиеся схемы не сильно отличаются от схем бизнес-процессов, формируемых BPM-инструментами.

Учет производственно-коммерческих ограничений, исторических и других фактических данных

Линии и стрелки входящие и выходящие из каждого узла определяют потоки, которые движутся по указанным направлениям. Внутри узла задан функционал, который определяет как входной поток преобразуется в выходной. Обычно это задается формулой, которую надо придумать. И обычно эта формула очень далека от реальности (например, как учесть плановые и неотложные ремонты, перебои с поставкой комплектующих). Как правило такие формулы «упрощают» процессы заменяя имеющуюся нелинейность на линейные суррогаты.

В рассматриваемых цепочках поставок вместо явных «выдуманных» формул используются дискретные временные ряды (время-значение), которые получаются из выгрузок исторических или прогнозных данных из баз данных или из Excels. В этом случае применяемые данные из временных рядов являются носителями фактически имеющий место нелинейности функциональных зависимостей.

Схема цепочек поставок для обогатительной фабрики дополнена входами со значениями временных рядов: фактических данных. Это могут быть исторические данные, характеризующие процессы, которые имели место в прошлом. Это могут быть разнообразные прогнозы. В конце концов — это могут быть плановые индикаторы.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Иерархическая организация схем цепочек. «Черные», «серые» и «белые» узлы

Нельзя быть компетентным во всех аспектах цепочек поставок. Поэтому разумно работать на соответствующем уровне абстрактности процессов. Однако, в случае необходимости в модели можно «провалиться» вниз и увидеть проблемный узел.

В общем случае каждый узел является «черным» ящиком: можно видеть входящие потоки и выходящие потоки. Если необходимо, то можно увидеть из каких компонентов состоит «чёрный» ящик. В этом случае «черный» ящик становится «серым»: кроме входных и выходных потоков видна структура узла. «Серый» ящик является конструкцией, которая определяется только узлами и связями. Он не вносит новый функционал — только связи. Атомарные узлы, определяющие внутренние программы узла являются «белыми» ящиками. В них можно увидеть, что конкретно делает узел и внести изменения в программу.

На рисунке «закупки для ремонтов и ТО» является «черным» ящиком. Схема, характеризующая процесс закупок — «серым» ящиком. И, наконец, программа для узла — «белым» ящиком.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Вариативность и управление параметрами цепочек поставок

Цепочки поставок, соединяющие абстрактные процессы и конкретные данные позволяют формировать для компании общую картину и динамику через учет сложности, задержек и нелинейности. Но этого все равно мало: пока нет инструментов реализации методов управления, политики и маневров компании по обстоятельствам.

Рассмотрим сначала возможности реализации вариативности и управления цепочками поставок на уровне изменения значений параметров.

Вариативность может реализовываться по-разному, но в сопоставимых показателях имеется два типа вариативности.

Первый тип соответствует «прогону» нескольких сценариев развития процессов. Для одной и той же фиксированной структуры управления анализируются результаты для совершенно разных по содержанию входных данных.

Второй тип более сложный, он соответствует «прогону» некоего сценария развития процессов одновременно для разных структур управления.

Пример выбора между аутсорсингом и внутренней производственной структурой

Рассмотрим актуальный пример анализа выбора между аутсорсингом и внутренней производственной структурой. В терминах цепочек поставок данная задача связана с цепочкой выполняемых работ — предоставляемых услуг.

На логическом уровне модель формируется следующим образом. Есть три типа рабочей нагрузки и три типа подразделений. Каждый тип рабочей нагрузки первоначально поступает в соответствующее подразделение. Рабочая нагрузка неравномерна во времени.

Подразделение может справиться с нагрузкой, тогда все хорошо. Если подразделение с нагрузкой не справляется, то оно откладывает работы в «накопитель» (сток). Если впоследствии у подразделения появляется свободное время, то оно берет работу из накопителя и выполняет ее.

Отличие аутсорсинга и внутренней производственной структуры состоит в том, что подразделение из единой структуры при наличии свободного времени может выполнять как «свою» работу из своего накопителя, так и «чужую» работу из накопителей двух других подразделений единой структуры.

Во внутреннем представлении модель имеет следующий вид:
Подразделения внутренней производственной структуры имеют индекс 1, а подразделения аутсорсинга — индекс 2. Одинаковые буквы соответствуют одинаковым по функциям и производительности подразделениям.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Далее изображена модель реализующую динамику цепочки поставок работ/услуг.

Слева имеются ползунки для изменения параметров рабочей нагрузки.

На панели модели первый блок визуализирует суммарную рабочую нагрузку и ее структурные составляющие.

Второй блок содержит графики невыполненных работ по нарастающей.

Красный график — аутсорсинг, серый график — единая структура. Рабочая нагрузка и производительность подразделений идентичны для аутсорсинга и единой структуры соответственно. Различия в объемах не выполненных работ является следствием только порядка организации работ.

Последний блок показывает непосредственную загрузку подразделений изначально назначенными работами. Этот же блок иллюстрирует резервы мощностей единого подразделения.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Следуя аналитическим результатам модели можно утверждать, что самым важным фактором в выборе между аутсорсингом и внутренним производственным подразделением является предполагаемая динамика рабочей нагрузки по рассматриваемым направлениям работ/услуг.

Цифровые методы управления

Управление цепочками поставок на уровне изменений значений параметров осуществляется по схеме аналогичной приведенной в предыдущей модели: с ползунками по введенным параметрам, представлении конкретных начальных условий, а также итоговых аналитических результатов моделирования.

Следующий уровень управления связан с введением в контур цепочек поставок положений производственно-коммерческой политики.

По факту большинство компаний имеет Стратегию компании. При этом, как правило, отсутствуют инструменты реализации Стратегии непосредственно в процессах управления и в маневрах компании по обстоятельствам.

В предлагаемом подходе Стратегия компании реализуется через Стратагемы.
Выделяются 5 групп Стратагем:
Стратагемы A целей (ambition);
Стратагемы HD исторических данных;
Стратагемы PCR производственно-коммерческих ограничений;
Стратагемы P прогноза;
Стратагемы FB обратной связи.

По своей сути Стратагема это утверждение о намерении или условии, которое включает в себя глагольную характеристику действия и фиксирует связанные с ним количественный рубеж или качественное состояние. Стратагема относится к неким объектам (реальным или виртуальным). Причинно-следственные отношения определяются через одинаковые объекты, поименованные в разных Стратагемах.

Самый распространенный пример — это производственно-коммерческие ограничения. Например, энергетики определяют возможный максимум энергонагрузки и затраты на его обеспечение. При этом производственники связывают объемы произведенной продукции с количеством работающего оборудования. Только сведя эту информацию в производственно-коммерческие ограничения можно понять выполнимость планов и потребность затрат на поддержание энергохозяйства.

Важно иметь механизм выявления всех взаимозависимостей Стратагем.

Рассмотрим пример. Пусть состав Стратагем будет следующим.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

На рисунке изображены графы явной взаимозависимости Стратагем, которые можно выявлять семантической интерпретацией, что очень удобно и полезно при большом количестве производственно-коммерческих ограничений.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Интегральный граф взаимозависимостей.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Этот граф показывает взаимосвязи объектов и какие факторы необходимо учитывать управляя процессом. У получаемых зависимостей имеется еще одна полезная практическая особенность: они фиксируют какие процессы взаимно независимые, а также позволяют сокращать количество учитываемых факторов при решении конкретных задач управления.

С учетом использования Стратагем необходимо ввести новый узел с особым статусом (stm – STratagems Management), который отслеживает необходимую размерность управления (какие факторы учитывает) и обеспечивает сведение всей интегрально значимой информации (что-то вроде динамического стратегического дашборда).

Тогда в схеме обогатительной фабрики вводятся новые элементы, которые соответствуют интегральной модели цепочек поставок.

How E-commerce Creates New Trends in Supply Chain Management

Новые цифровые методы управления в этом случае появляются естественным путем: есть нужные данные, имеется возможность формализовать намерения в виде Стратагем и можно смоделировать последствия принимаемых решений.

В данном случае цифровой двойник появляется не как результат сведения множества данных из разных мест, а как структурный метод решения актуальных задач, который обуславливает состав и объем требуемых данных.

Первые полезные результаты при описанном подходе можно начать получать через одну неделю, которая требуется для адаптации системы управления цепочками поставок к особенностям конкретной компании. Формируемый при этом доменный язык бизнеса соответствует специфике организации конкретного бизнеса и его конкурентным преимуществам. Используемая технология предусматривает возможность для компании в дальнейшем развивать и дорабатывать систему самостоятельно.

While primarily participating in online sales, ecommerce businesses still have to overcome challenges related to an age-old complication — the supply chain.

Understanding the intricacies of the supply chain is a must for businesses, as you need to know how to get your products from the manufacturer to the customer, with limited interruptions and in a way that improves the customer experience.

With the ecommerce supply chain, this process is even more complicated. Now, there are the added logistical elements of procuring raw materials, managing online interactions and overseeing rapidly shifting demands in the online marketplace. Not to mention, the role of distribution and fulfillment centers is often more complicated, with many businesses operating without a brick-and-mortar location.


To succeed as an ecommerce store owner in the modern marketplace — especially post-pandemic and with competitors from other ecommerce companies like Amazon — you will need more than a fantastic product or an incredibly designed website.

By knowing how to operate within the ecommerce supply chain, you can get your products to your customers, all while improving profit margins and reducing operational costs.

How an Efficient Ecommerce Supply Chain Boosts Business

An efficient, transparent ecommerce supply chain can help to determine whether your business is functioning at its optimum potential. It can lead to significant benefits, including:

  • Greater transparency and visibility across the board.
  • Effective multi-channel selling.
  • Improved customer relations.
  • Insight into stock availability and inventory visibility.

Ecommerce’s role in the supply chain — as well as the use of software solutions — can make it easier for companies to collaborate with suppliers, procurement and customers, streamlining each decision-making aspect of the supply chain process.

Each stage of the ecommerce supply chain is valuable and can help play a crucial role in operating a successful ecommerce business. These stages involve:

Market supply and demand.

As in most industries of business, supply and demand significantly impact how a company institutes pricing and how efficiently they can fulfill customer orders.

To succeed within this stage, businesses need to find a middle ground for their product selection, where supply and demand are equal — leading to a situation in which your goods and services match the consumer demand for them.

Flexibility is also critical here, as it is in your best interest to be able to react and respond to market fluctuations.

Warehousing and inventory management.

Warehousing is an integral part of the supply chain process, involving functions ranging from housing goods to packaging physical orders. It is the centerpiece for all of your receiving, storing and distribution tasks.

To manage warehousing and inventory tracking, many companies use a warehouse management system (WMS) along with an inventory management software program that helps to bolster their operations, monitor inventory levels and keep things running smoothly.

Order entry and management.

Order entry is the process of recording an order slip into an order handling system, which in turn reclassifies it as a sales order. With this process completed, businesses can schedule necessary tasks to fulfill the order, whether by procuring supplies, setting up specific shipping policies or reviewing invoicing.

Order management is slightly different, referring to a process that interacts with almost every stage of the ecommerce supply chain. It helps businesses to coordinate their fulfillment tasks, from order collection to service availability.

A dedicated order management system (OMS) can assist businesses by simplifying the order lifecycle, providing automated capabilities and generating real-time insights.

Distribution, delivery and returns.

Distribution and delivery focus on product movement from the original point, supplier or manufacturer, to the final point of sale. Distribution management involves actions including packaging, warehousing and shipping.

Returns are the other side of the coin, where products reverse the course listed above — going from the final point of sale back to the seller.

Understanding where items are located and in which direction they’re proceeding is critical to limiting disruptions and maintaining supply chain efficiency.

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Ecommerce Supply Chain Challenges to Watch Out For

Inventory management is challenging for any business, whether knowing which items you have on-site or which are out for delivery. This process will only grow more complicated as your business grows, from maintaining an increasing amount of SKUs and barcodes to managing replenishment.

With a dedicated inventory management system, you can take out much of the hassle of day-to-day logistics and move your focus to different business needs.

Warehouse sorting.

Handling multiple channels and warehouses can be a headache, particularly as your company scales and you have to legislate where warehouses are to be located and which one to choose for specific products.

By using a top-of-the-line warehouse management system, you can move away from spreadsheets with a solution that makes tracking inventory levels and distribution channels simpler and more efficient.

Transportation logistics.

It is one thing to have your warehouses and inventory in order — it is another to have transportation and shipping logistics set up. The final piece of the puzzle, transportation logistics involves ensuring that the products in your warehouses can make it to where the customers are.

Transportation is complex and, depending on the size of your business, can be quite expensive. You will have to manage delivery times, pay truck drivers and ensure that products are delivered on time and in shape even up to the last mile.

If you can master transportation — whether on your own or with the help of a management solution — you will be able to take better command of the market.

Tips for an Effective Ecommerce Supply Chain

Review your supply chain to better understand the current state of your product, data and cash flow.

Is what you’re currently doing profitable? Are there any issues with the data available? Are there any gaps between shippers and distributors?

Look for inefficiencies in the operations, spending and process in order to uncover things that can be changed and tasks that need to be fulfilled.

Implement automated order processing.

Automated order processing can help improve your supply chain operations’ efficiency and day-to-day effectiveness, even at the service level. It allows you to process orders faster by eliminating manual work, reducing lead time and expediting your shipping and fulfillment tasks.

There are dedicated automated order processing solutions available that integrate with multiple sales channels and apps to automate, verify, process and implement orders as they come in — bridging the gap between supplier and customer.

Consider a shipping service provider.

Instead of dealing with the everyday complications of managing shipping costs, many businesses opt to use third-party logistics providers, whether in the form of traditional delivery services or newer methods like dropshipping.

By outsourcing inventory and order fulfillment, you can leave the hassle of inventory management and reverse logistics to the experts — giving you more time to focus on different tasks.

Map out your warehouse and distribute inventory strategically

Keeping your warehouse inventory organized while utilizing all available space is critical to managing an effective ecommerce supply chain. What happens too often is that items get misplaced, products are put in the wrong location or the warehouse operations as a whole are not as efficient as they should be.

Through the use of tools such as a warehouse management system, you can better organize inventory, dictate where items and containers are located and establish location-specific distribution patterns.

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The Final Word

An optimized, cost-effective supply chain is one of the most essential parts of any successful ecommerce business, reducing operating costs and working to improve customer relationships.

With the help of available omnichannel solutions and a management view of the ecommerce supply chain, your business can better understand each stage of the journey to ensure that products get to your customers satisfactorily and on time.

FAQs About Ecommerce Supply Chain

There are several critical metrics you should track along the ecommerce supply chain.

The most important one is order-to-deliver, sometimes referred to as click-to-deliver. It is a customer-centric metric that reviews how long it takes from when a customer initially orders a product to when it is delivered. It is what customers care about the most and can lead to the most significant impressions.

Additional metrics to review can include:

What Is an example of an ecommerce supply chain?
  • Collecting real-time data on your customers and their market demands.
  • Sourcing vendors, suppliers or manufacturers.
  • Converting raw materials into finished goods.
  • Packing and storing products in warehouses in preparation for delivery.
  • Delivering goods along the supply chain to the customers.
  • Handling potential returns from customers.

Ecommerce supply chain management (SCM) is the process of managing the flow of information, funds, resources and customer satisfaction across the different stages of the ecommerce supply chain.

It involves the collaboration of all entities along the supply chain, from suppliers and manufacturers to warehouses and distribution centers. Each step on the chain is reviewed to ensure that it contributes to the overall success of your ecommerce business and streamlines customer expectations.

Digital innovation has touched almost every aspect of personal, commercial and business life since the invention of the internet. In 20 years, the expansion of e-commerce pushed a new way of shopping, and thoroughly changed the supply chain and logistics process. To celebrate 20 years of Supply and Demand Chain Executive magazine, here’s a look back at how e-commerce has impacted this sector throughout the last two decades.

Scott Dunnington, director of client services at Open Sky Group, explains that when SDCE first started, so too was small package delivery. More frequent but smaller shipments became sought after and supply chains shifted to less-than-load (LTL) shipping.

“Since then, e-commerce has taken that trend and multiplied it, literally exponentially,” says Dunnington. “Now the traditional delivery channels just didn’t work. It is much more difficult to supply 1,000 product orders with two lines each than a single 2,000-line order. Through 2015 or so, companies built dedicated e-commerce fulfillment centers, with inventories often completely separate from other channels. Retailers would have store distribution warehouses and e-commerce dedicated warehouses, often under different leadership structures and working at cross-purposes! Since the early 2010s, more companies are trying to achieve order-anywhere, fulfill-from-anywhere.”

With major retailers such as Amazon, Kohl’s, Walmart and Target creating new ways of shopping to allow customers to receive products whenever, wherever and however they like, other retailers look to join and find efficient ways to do so despite the challenges.

“Clearly is the largest disruptor here and retailers are trying to fight back,” continues Dunnington. “This is hard, though, as it is much more efficient to fulfill from a warehouse when you can pick numerous orders at once, than in a store where the walk is greater for fewer orders. Time will tell how it all plays out, but one trend from all of this is for warehousing to become multi-channel with wholesale, e-commerce, club-outlet, subscription, etc. All fulfilled from the same facility. Transportation is obviously affected, as both how product moves between facilities and the last-mile delivery have changed dramatically to support this new model. Product returns and the associated reverse logistics are also much different in the high-order-count world where product is returned directly to the shipper instead of to stores for collection and return to the warehouse.”

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