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Supply Chain 5.0: The Evolution of Logistics from 3PL to 5PL with Steve Denton

Ninaad Acharya, Dan Coll, Steve Denton

Episode Description


As a serial entrepreneur, he has had 3 successful exits and a history of building great organizations. Prior to joining Ware2Go, Stephen was the President and CRO of Collective[i], a pioneer in AI and market leading platform for enterprise sales organizations. Previously he was GM and Vice President of Marketing Solutions at Ebay and was responsible for all of eBay Enterprise digital and agency business units and integrated 9 acquired companies into one global marketing solutions leader.

He founded and is active with Goodness Now, a charitable organization that provides weekend meals to nutrition challenged elementary school children in Monmouth County, NJ.


In this episode of eCom Logistics Podcast, Dan Coll and Ninaad Acharya are joined by Steve Denton, CEO of Ware2Go, a UPS company with a focus on supply chain innovation. Together, they explore the rapidly changing landscape of e-commerce logistics and the emergence of 4PL and 5PL models. Steve shares insights from his extensive career, highlighting the importance of adapting to the evolving needs of merchants and consumers. The discussion delves into topics like personalization, technology, and inventory placement in the modern supply chain. Discover how the logistics industry is transforming to meet the demands of today’s connected consumers and what it means for businesses of all sizes.

Steve also discusses the evolving landscape of peak demand and consumer expectations in 2023. Steve highlights the importance of flexible and resilient supply chains and shares valuable insights on how retailers and merchants can prepare for the upcoming holiday season. From the impact of Prime Days to the significance of sustainability, Steve provides expert perspectives on what to expect during this year’s peak and how to stay competitive in a rapidly changing commerce environment.


[00:00:00] Logistics Evolution: Explore logistics’ transformation from 3PL to 4PL and 5PL due to rapid commerce shifts.
00:10:33] Personalization’s Significance: Personalization is vital in meeting connected consumer demands, backed by technology and flexible warehousing.
[00:17:16] Headless Commerce Platforms: 5PLs act as headless commerce hubs, connecting merchants with optimized supply from various sources.
[00:21:47] Strategic Inventory Placement: Strategic inventory placement across locations becomes crucial for efficient customer service.
[00:23:08] API Integration: Emphasize API integration instead of building new WMS systems for adaptability and flexibility.[00:23:52] Accurate demand forecasting is essential; even the best inventory planning relies on it.
[00:24:24] AI and machine learning greatly enhance demand forecasting, benefiting retailers of all sizes.
[00:24:44] Integrating promotion schedules is critical for precise demand forecasting impacted by marketing activities.
[00:25:16] Diversifying marketing channels, beyond Google and Amazon, can boost demand forecasting for mid-tier merchants
[00:25:38] Effective, non-condescending communication with merchants is vital for successful demand forecasting.
[00:26:06] Tools like network view guide optimal inventory placement and replenishment strategies based on sales and regional demand.
[00:27:29] Offering options and flexibility to accommodate individual merchant preferences improves business relationships.[00:32:17] E-commerce demands meeting consumer expectations for consistent, speedy, stable, and sustainable delivery times.


[00:13:07] Steve Denton: “We are not in the supply chain and logistics business. We are in the commerce business.”
[00:18:03] Steve Denton: “The days of taking the low hanging fruit of the slappers or the pick and stick are over. You better be able to do those things, and if you can do it with technology versus people, then you’re going to be able to scale more.”
[00:17:16] Steve Denton: “A 5PL is really about meeting merchants and consumers where they want to be met with the right type of supply in the right locations for the right type of capabilities.”
[00:23:52] “You’ve got to start with demand planning, and like, look, not as a where-to-go plug, but we’ve been spending a ton of time with AI machine learning to help our clients do demand forecasting.”
[00:32:03] “Stability is required, sustainable. You’ve got to put that in there too. Absolutely. And then certainty.”
[00:48:44] “It’s flexible resiliency that’s required to meet today’s commerce landscape.”

Find out more about Stephen in the link below:


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How to Reimagine the Future of Supply Chain
by Ninaad Acharya, Dan Coll and Shekar Natarajan
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