Potential analysis of track-and-trace systems in the outbound logistics of a Swedish retailer
Abstract: Supply chain visibility has become a crucial factor for companies in times of globalization and customer satisfaction. Track-and-trace technologies are important tools in order to enhance supply chain visibility. This thesis was written in cooperation with a Swedish retailer and evaluates potential track-and-trace technologies in order to develop a solution to close their current track-and-trace gap in their outbound logistics. Currently the handover point between the retailer and the postal service provider is not clearly defined, so that shipments get lost during the transition. Therefore, a literature review about currently used track-and-trace technologies was carried out. Several technologies with a wide price and applicability range are currently used and have been analysed regarding their strength and weaknesses. A qualitative study in form of interviews was conducted within the Swedish market about how this gap could possibly be closed. Empirical findings show that the existing track-and-trace technologies do not provide a best practice solution. Especially in the field of outbound logistics, several factors and the individual process requirements of a company have to be considered in order to develop an efficient solution, so that the existing track-and-trace gap can be closed. Each company has its unique set of challenges, which have to be solved in order to successfully implement a long- lasting tracking solution. A high dependence from the postal service provider is additionally given since all process steps need to be aligned to guarantee reliability of the data afterwards. In the case of the Swedish retailer, an automatized scanning bow with a separated area for outbound parcels is expected to improve transparency of the handover and lower the total amount of lost shipments. The breakeven point would be reached within the next years, so that operational saving could soon be achieved. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, as well as significant problems of the retailer, the practical application could not be tested. It should therefore be part of further academic studies.
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