Cloud computing and 3PL services are the growth engines for Ingram Micro, says Robert Gifford, the company's executive vice president for global logistics. But all businesses are affected by the growth in e-commerce, not just technology providers. Online shopping depends on a vastly changed logistics landscape. 3PLs now directly interact with their customer's customer.
Concern with brand has given way to a demand for convenience, Gifford says. So it's incumbent on a technology provider like Ingram Micro to partner with third-party logistics services providers that have the right logistics infrastructure: the ability to see multiple source sites, and to deliver right away to customers whether they are individuals, small businesses or large enterprises.
"That's the demand of the marketplace, and we see that as an opportunity," Gifford says. "We can help brands differentiate themselves."
Bundling is one of the ways Ingram Micro can help its customers stand out, he says. "What are the clients' needs? They probably don't want to buy just a high-tech product like a phone or laptop. They may want a case also or to have software put on the item. That's how they shop online, but that's highly complex to deliver. You have to have the capability to deliver in a way that the customer sees value in it."
Postponement, expedited services, bundling - these are just some of the things one needs to remain competitive. Failing that, says Gifford, a company will become a tier-two or tier-three provider at best.
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