„Beam me up, Scotty “, says Captain Kirk to his chief engineer, and the next thing we see is Kirk’s body disappearing from Planet X and reappearing on the starship. “Wow”, you think “I wish we could do that for real. The places I would travel to…..” Well, we are not there yet – but with the rapid development of electronic devices, Internet, ERP and the digital age in general, I wouldn’t be surprised if we could build a beamer that powerful within the next 10 years. A university in Germany that concentrates in IT systems engineering, already came up with a machine that can scan an object, transmit it over the internet and rebuild it using a 3D printer in a new location. Imagine you can do that in retail: Sit on your sofa buying a handbag with one click on your device and 20 minutes later it appears magically at your doorstep. Cool, right? But is it really that far off? No, to tell you the truth, it is not even considered to be science fiction anymore. We already buy things with one click, we just need to wait a bit longer than 20 minutes right now to receive the product. But wait – isn’t Amazon already testing delivery by drone? So who knows, the time of purchase to delivery in 20 minutes could actually happen sooner than you think. Especially when it pertains to your Amazon shopping experience.
Shopping has changed a lot over the years from shopping online to wireless debit machines to credit card readers for smartphones and almost any kind of delivery that can be tracked. Did you ever wonder what would be next? Amazon designed and built a supermarket style store called Amazon Go that was created through advanced technology. The purpose of this store is to provide people a shopping experience without having to wait in check-out lines or be served by cashiers. Amazon Go was first launched for employees in December 2017 and opened up to the public in January 2018. If someone wants to shop at Amazon Go they first must have an Amazon account and the IPhone or Android app downloaded on their smartphones. This app is required to be downloaded for the customer to enter the store, as the customer enters the store they have to scan their smart phones to begin their shopping experience. Customers are provided with reusable shopping bags to use and leave with, there are no shopping carts or baskets for customers to use. The store is filled with many cameras along the ceilings that watch every move a customer makes. In addition to cameras, the shelves are equipped with weight sensors that sensor if an item has been removed from the shelf or put back. Every time a customer takes something off the shelf the item is charged to the customer’s account. The customer can always put something back on the shelf and it will be taken off their account. A customer can even return items after leaving the store. The store isn’t completely “staffless”, there are employees in the kitchen prepping fresh food, there are also employees around the store that restock and organize shelves to maintain the store. Another position that is still filled by humans in the store is checking IDs in the alcohol section. Once the customer is ready to leave all they have to do is walk out of the store. A few minutes after walking out of the store, the customer receives a digital receipt that shows the total of their bill. The Amazon Go app will also inform the customer with data on how much time they spent shopping.
Most people consider social media to be platforms for dialogue between themselves and their closest friends and favourite social influencers. Of course, marketers and organizations use social media to promote products and brands, communicate with customers, and gather data from their target audience. It’s not surprising that discussions involving the application of social medias rarely focus on supply chain and distribution implications; however, this function within a business and between businesses can benefit almost infinitely from a strong network of social media and communication platforms. Many companies are beginning to look to other areas of their business to either cut costs or earn more income, and their supply chain has become an increasingly popular source for such activity. One company capitalizing on this newfound value centre is SDVI, a resource management company that helps media and entertainment companies organize their data and information supply chain to improve the agility and efficiency of their media infrastructures (Market Wired, 2016).