E-Commerce and the Hockey Stick

It will surprise no one to hear that e-commerce experienced a spike in demand in the second quarter of this year. The U.S. Census Bureau published this data in mid-August:

Estimated Quarterly U.S. Retail E-commerce Sales as a Percent of
Total Quarterly Retail Sales
Q1 2010 to Q2 2020 – Adjusted for Seasonality

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Not a classical hockey stick chart in the sense that the preceding years were not showing a stable and flat period, but to call out to hockey was warranted here as it is a favorite sport and things are heating up as we enter the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs (author’s indulgence!).

The reason to bring up this data is to highlight the changing nature of retail commerce. These are unprecedented times and while it would be foolhardy of us to make predictions based on this single blip in the data, however it is safe to assume e-commerce will continue to grow at a steady, if not accelerated, pace.

➡️ Is your supply chain ready for this change?

➡️ Is it well DESIGNED to withstand this growth in e-commerce?

E-Commerce and TMS

Another area impacted by this growth is TMS technology. With more e-commerce comes more parcel shipment and not all applications are created equal when it comes to handling this transportation mode.

In particular, here are five items to consider when evaluating your TMS’s ability to handling parcel shipments:

  1. Rate negotiations – can your TMS help you evaluate the difference between rates including all fees and surcharges?
  2. Parcel planning – does your TMS have the ability to select the optimal carrier / service based on all applicable fees, surcharges and discounts?
  3. Tracking / Exception Management – does your TMS have the ability to track orders at the carton level?
  4. Settlement – does your TMS have the ability to audit parcel invoices?
  5. Reporting – does your TMS provide all the reporting you need for your parcel shipments?


Louis Bourassa is the Analytics & Optimization Practice Head at JBF Consulting. He provides analytical and optimization support to JBF clients. Louis has a diverse background with a mix of industry, consulting and software roles that allowed him to develop a strong business acumen and expert knowledge of supply chain analysis and design.

Founded in 2003, JBF Consulting is a supply chain execution strategy and systems integrator to logistics-intensive companies of every size and any industry. Our background and deep experience in the field of packaged logistics technology implementation positions us as industry leaders whose craftsmanship exceeds our client expectations. We expedite the transformation of supply chains through logistics & technology strategy, packaged & bespoke software implementation, and analytics & optimization. For more information, visit us at www.jbf-consulting.com