16 supply chain management statistics that may surprise you

A picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes a good statistic is worth 1,000 white papers. Here are 15 of the most important pieces of information for supply chain management and logistics professionals.

A few will help you plan your next move, and a couple will keep you up at night.

1. The number of U.S. warehouses has grown 6.8% over the past five years

The economy has steadily improved and hiring performed well for the past few years and we’re seeing that reflected in warehouse space. Not only are there more customers but ecommerce is playing a larger role, so there are fewer stores doing double-duty as a warehouse and retail location. The digital model is now pushing warehouses above all else.


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2. The number of companies not looking at supply chain automation is currently as high as 40%, but will drop to 17% by the end of 2018.

Automation is moving out of the realm of a competitive advantage and more into the normal course of business. Soon, you’ll be at a disadvantage if you’re not employing some automation to assist your warehouse staff.

3. For retail, inventory is accurate just 63% of the time, on average

Where is all that automation money going to go? We think it’ll focus on inventory management. The better you know your inventory, the more successful you can make every day of selling.

4. Some 44% of U.S shoppers are using both online and in-store purchase and pickup options simultaneously

There is no single-channel solution that will survive the next decade in the modern commerce world because customers look for multichannel options. We don’t think this will mean a physical store for online shops, but it will likely see a push for lockers and pick-up locations expanding as brands consolidate.

5. Supply chain management positions and hiring are growing faster than current economic averages

There is significant potential in supply chain, and it is where people are looking for new talent. Supply chain professionals have always been part of each industry, but now they are being brought into more conversations because their value is clearer in more situations.

6. Managers who rated themselves as highly knowledgeable about e-commerce are earning a median of $105,000 in annual salary compared to $73,500 for those who claim to be on the lower end of the knowledge spectrum

Piggybacking off our last stat is this one that is eye-opening but feels obvious. Ecommerce is the next big thing and companies are willing to pay more to be ahead of the curve.

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7. 51% of B2B buyers are looking at more content before they make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago

Companies like yours are looking at more things online before they make any decision, including picking a WMS or supply chain partner. Part of that is because you’re getting savvy, and another reason is that you’ve got a lot more companies competing for your supply chain dollars.

8. 79% of logistics and supply chain companies are relying on content for leads because they see it as an effective tool

The reasoning behind this stat is more than just content; it’s about finding the right fit. Companies want to know that their supply chain partners have experience with “brands like me,” and increase blog posts and case studies effectively demonstrate that.

9. 79% of companies with high-performing supply chains achieve revenue growth greater than the average within their industries

Want to know where to invest your money? This is the stat for you. The better the supply chain, the greater your revenue capabilities.

10. Revenue at “fully integrated” companies is outpacing non-integrated companies by 20%

Building on the stat before, we now see that revenue is driven even higher when you have a supply chain that is integrated and partners communicate with each other. Technology that talks is your latest must-have.

11. In 2016, Uber’s autonomous trucking brand, Otto, made its first delivery – a shipment of 50,000 cans of beer on a self-driving vehicle that traveled from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs along existing Colorado highways.

Autonomous vehicles are making their way into the supply chain and that’s going to bring a lot more risks and legal questions. But, we finally know that current technology can achieve it, at least on some viable level.

12. There were 260 major natural disasters in 2016, creating an economic loss of $211 billion

There’s no preventing a hurricane or other disaster, and more are forecast in coming years. What logistics professionals can do, however, is work with data to predict disruptions and plan accordingly so that a lean supply chain can move around impacted areas.

13. For data security, people think cloud storage is 10% riskier than it actually is. However, the risk of compromise for data that’s on-premise is 24% higher than people think it is

These new systems and predictive models are going to make a lot of data; that data is logistics lifeblood. It seems the safest place to keep that data isn’t where most people believe.

14. There are roughly 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., but the country started 2017 needing an additional 100,000

Getting back to the road here for a second: it’s time to plan for smarter shipping. Truck driver shortages are going to start impacting us more as ecommerce dominates more retail shopping. Here’s the big question for you: how will you prepare for the changing landscape?

15. E-commerce is the main reason cited for UPS’s 2.3% year-over-year increase in package volume in the quarter ending March 31, 2017

There are two important things to remember in our last stat. The first is that ecommerce is growing and it’s becoming significantly more profitable for carriers like UPS — enough to offset other losses. Second is that as ecommerce grows, it will create more pressure on the market in some of the existing stats we’ve seen, such as the truck driver shortage.

16. The e-commerce industry has the highest percentage of WMS users according to recent WMS research

There is even more evidence that e-commerce is growing and quickly becoming one of the largest areas in the supply chain with more workers needed to populate demand. 

Those are just 16 stats to get you thinking about where the supply chain management world is today and where it’s headed tomorrow. Reach out if you have any stats you’d like to share and be featured in our next review of the state of the industry.

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Geoff Whiting

About the author…

Geoff is an experienced journalist, writer, and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce, and supply chain development. Outside of the office he can be found toying with the latest in IoT, searching for classic radio broadcast recordings, and playing the perpetual tourist in his home of Washington D.C.

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Geoff Whiting

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