2022 Word of the Year: Co-opetition

Looking back on all the broken links of the supply chain that snarled global supply chains in 2021, one rectifiable issue stands out: capacity. Lack of capacity plagued many retailers, but among those most affected were small to mid-size retailers. These e-commerce businesses cannot compete for capacity with retail goliaths.

In the first days of 2022, Logistics Managers’ Index (LMI) released its monthly survey-based gauge, compiled by researchers at five U.S. universities. It predicted that “the bigger-than-usual rush to stockpile products on U.S. retail shelves and in warehouses ahead of the holidays might give way to an economic hangover of sorts.”

As retailers are faced with a dire need to move this excess inventory, they’ll require a shipping solution that offers access to more capacity and greater flexibility.  If there was ever a time to disrupt the supply chain, it’s now.

Introducing co-opetition which puts small-to-midsize retailers on an even field with the “big three.”  Co-opetition means teaming up on the back end, to succeed on the front end.  

Co-opetition is all about capacity. While it may have been anathema to speak to any retailer just a few years ago, to talk about working with your “enemy,” the time is now to disrupt the supply chain by doing just that.  Pre-pandemic retailers couldn’t keep up with giants and 3PL fulfillment also used the same shippers.  With COVID, their business accelerated, while others fell behind in part because they lacked access to shipping capacity.

If there is one thing retailers have learned is that their most valuable assets are their brand and their inventory – not the means of moving their inventory. Co-opetition allows retailers to focus on the product, while sharing capacity to move their products.  They are realizing that supply chain is not competition – scale is competition. The goal of co-opetition is to simplify relationships and bring scale and efficiency to the business of moving inventory.

The time is NOW to be BETTER TOGETHER: the name of the new game is co-opetition.