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UPS Debuts Tool to Get Supply Chain Elements in Sync

UPS has debuted a tool that lets businesses integrate their disparate supply chain components into one platform.

The company’s Supply Chain Symphony, announced Wednesday (Nov. 15), lets customers combine things like shipping, warehouse and inventory management for greater efficiency.

“UPS Supply Chain Symphony allows our customers to connect every aspect of their global supply chains to UPS’s intelligent logistics network,” Kate Gutmann, EVP and president of UPS International, Healthcare and Supply Chain Solutions, said in a news release. “This is a game-changer for our customers that puts powerful new digital tools at their fingertips.”

The release noted that many companies have difficulties connecting separate spreadsheets or databases, while most shippers find it difficult and time consuming to transform supply chain data into useful information.  

With an integrated logistics system, the release said, companies gain a competitive edge, as well as improved customer service, collaboration, asset utilization, and forecasting accuracy.

Cutting logistics costs is important at a moment when, as noted here last month, roughly half of consumers value free shipping so much that they’d place it at the top of key considerations when deciding which merchant to buy from, according to PYMNTS Intelligence.

As covered here in the recent “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report,” 42% of consumers, with subscriptions say they would cancel those subscriptions if free shipping were not offered 

Free shipping is the most valuable feature, with 39% of consumers shopping for a subscription plan naming it as their chief requirement. Most top performing merchants — 93% of them — as measured according to metrics such as consumer loyalty and spend, offer free shipping.

The launch of UPS’ new supply chain tool comes weeks after the company announced plans to acquire Happy Returns, a software and reverse logistics company, in a bid to boost its returns footprint and enhance its digital solutions.

This deal is designed to address the long-standing challenges faced by both shoppers and retailers in the returns process, the companies said, adding that by combining Happy Returns’ technology and established drop-off points with UPS’ network, customers can enjoy a frictionless, box-free and label-free returns experience.