Cargo Ship


Not surprisingly, e-commerce giant Amazon has one of the best (if not the best) supply chains out there. Strategically placed warehouses, highly sophisticated software, and automated sorting are just a few of the features that put Amazon well ahead of its competitors. Equally as important is the retailer’s relentless innovation and determination to raise the bar — Amazon recently released details on a multiyear plan that outlines the ways it intends to compete with FedEx, UPS, and Chinese online marketplace Alibaba. The plan aims to establish Amazon as a “global delivery network,” complete with its own planes, an ocean freight booking business, and of course, drones. Doing so could dramatically cut Amazon’s costs, making it even more of a threat on a global scale.


With humble beginnings as a small e-commerce startup, Overstock.com has grown from $40 million to $1.5 billion in revenue since 1999. In order to sustain such growth, the company invested in an adaptable warehouse management system that saw an increased, and incredibly precise, order fulfillment rate. Overstock faces unique challenges that set it apart from companies like Amazon, in that they cannot automate their warehouse operations because of the constant rollover inherent to the overstock business. As such, Overstock’s supply chain success is all the more impressive. Warehouse labor costs were reduced by 30% as tracking and inventory accuracy saw marked improvement, prompting the company to target international markets for growth in China.


To ride the wave and hang ten in the ever changing business world, Quicksilver has notably improved their supply chain efficiency; they more than doubled their picking and packing, and boosted overall accuracy by implementing advanced management software. Furthermore, by focusing on workload management and cross-docking solutions that merge inbound shipments with outbound orders, the company has increased its processing capacity, facilitating the much faster movement of merchandise through its facilities. This increase in efficiency has helped Quicksilver to bypass physical inventories, which in turn has saved the company more than $4 million.



What’s most impressive about Unilever’s ability to serve its 2 billion customers is that they’ve done so in truly sustainable ways. The consumer goods producer has managed to send zero waste to landfills across its global factory network by working works closely with its global suppliers, and has eliminated more than 1 million tons of carbon from its supply chain since 2008. This has led to more than $268 million in savings, and can be largely attributed to the way Unilever sources its packaging and its commitment to renewable energy consumption — more than 20% of the company’s energy comes from sustainable sources. When it comes to environmentally sustainable business, there is no better model than Unilever.

Carquest Vintage Car


Carquest is a leader in the world of automotive suppliers, delivering products from more than 40 distribution centers to over 3,300 auto parts stores. The company has automated the majority of its operations to increase inventory accuracy 14-fold, and uses warehouse management software that grants visibility across its distribution centers. Carquest can therefore easily streamline its transportation and identify any problem areas. For example, recognizing delays caused by inventory management, they significantly hastened their order processing by reorganizing their stock by manufacturer or supplier. This transparency has seen Carquest’s picking and inventory accuracies increase 53% and 75%, respectively, and the company is now able to deliver special orders to stores in certain metro areas within two hours.


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