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下单后迟迟不到货,美国快递为什么这么慢?

下单后迟迟不到货,美国快递为什么这么慢?

ROB WALKER 2021年10月27日
有证据表明,供应链压力已经见顶,即便如此,要回归正常状态仍需要数月的时间。

本·德瑞福斯想通过购物来犒劳自己。这位最近搬到爱达荷州太阳谷的演员兼作家(也是奥斯卡得主理查德的儿子)希望以不错的价格买到自己心仪的物品,而且按照人们在购物时习以为常的收货时间表:马上。

他失败了。在这篇Twitter上的长帖中,他愤怒地指出,自己无法在当地买到价格合适的物品,而线上物品的送货速度不够快。他埋怨说:“想在亚马逊购物吗?恭喜,到手得一周的时间。”德瑞福斯称,他唯一的选择就是往返240多公里的路程,前往距离最近的Bed Bath & Beyond。之所以出现这种“社会性故障”,其原因在于供应链的吃紧以及15年以来因电子商务而日渐式微的本土商业。

德瑞福斯很快便成为了人们的抨击对象,即便他将其牛肉描述为“爱达荷小镇”的一种生活方式,也是于事无补。太阳谷的豪华滑雪度假村并不能完全被看作典型的美国中部农村地区。然而人们不得不面对的事实在于:很多人在最近几周可能都遭受了类似的挫折。供应链的确十分吃紧,正因为如此,消费者才不得已接受了等待这种方式,但这一点却与大型企业和科技公司坚定不移、绞尽脑汁数耗费数十年才想出的解决办法背道而驰。有鉴于这个形势,我们不得不等待。一台冰箱要等6个月的时间,沙发要等9个月,一些游戏玩家依然无法买到一台哪怕是一年前便已经面世的PS5。

供应链之殇并非是唯一的罪魁祸首,但这些祸首让人们开始聚焦当代商业所依赖的复杂的制造和运输网络。库存水平处于低位,亚洲工厂因新冠疫情而放缓或暂停了生产;从长滩到萨凡纳,各大港口均出现了货船滞留现象。像沃尔玛、好市多(Costco)和家得宝(Home Depot)这样的大型零售商则通过自行租赁船只来确保店面供货。人们得提前一天采购节日货物:专家预计所有物品的交货期都会延长,从玩具和小物件(尤其是涉及半导体芯片的物品,因为芯片缺货非常严重)一直到家用新冠病毒测试包。在洛杉矶港最近转为24小时作业之后,拜登总统称这一现象表明,消费者遭遇的种种不便事实上已成为一个政治问题。

等待商品不单只会让人们感到沮丧。客户一直在宣泄不满,抱怨餐厅的等待时间长,飞机晚点。这也导致大量的服务员工辞去工作,助长了创纪录离职所带来的“辞职潮”劳动力紧缩,这一现象最终又会导致员工的进一步减少,加剧等待时长。这里有一个基准:彭博专栏作家塔拉·拉查佩勒最近引用了来自于Stephens Inc.一则研究纪要,该纪要称Domino披萨的送货时间在今夏“突然、令人惊讶地延长了30%”,而且一直没有恢复如初,可能是受司机短缺的影响。即便是邮政局也延长了送货时间,并称此举是成本削减计划的一部分。

你可以将这种等待延长看作是“影子通胀”。在影子通胀时期,各大公司不会提升价格,但花同样的钱,你得到的量变少了。这可能意味着糖块的尺寸略微缩小,亦或意味着等待时间的变长。例如一些汽车销售商正在提醒潜在的买家要多准备几个选项,因为要购买其心仪的颜色和配置将需要等待一段时间:新车短缺的情况可能会延续至明年。

尽管如此,在等待回归之际,可能最容易忽视的一个因素在于:供应方的混乱恰好碰上了需求方的暴涨,而消费者则继续通过花钱来满足其被抑制的、对各类事物的渴望,从电器和耐用品一直到体验和服务。尽管遭遇涨价、短缺以及新冠病毒变种德尔塔,但我们对物品的需求明显没有任何减弱的迹象。与人们的预期相反的是,零售额(包括餐厅和酒吧以及服装和家居产品店等)在9月份再次增长。S&P Global 的一位经济学家对《纽约时报》(New York Times)说:“人们有花钱的意愿;问题在于他们是否能找到这些物品。”

正因为如此,当前这个时期展示了“不等待”对于消费者的重要性。我们已经习惯于立即获得自己想要的东西,因为这是长期以来公司给消费者灌输的理念。在过去一个世纪中,销售的一个决定性特征便是通过改善科技和物流,来缩短愿望与满足感交付之间的时间。亚马逊的发展轨迹便凸显了这个更广泛的现象:其“包罗万象的店面”拥有无限的品类,它热忱满满地致力于满足人们及时行乐的冲动。这也是为什么亚马逊Prime车队的车辆摇身一变,纷纷向联邦快递或联合包裹卡车看齐。这也是为什么当消费者发现要等待一周的时间才能拿到自己心仪的物品时,难免会勃然大怒,哪怕就在不久前,家用产品的极速送货服务还是一个非常博眼球的创新,而并非是与人权挂钩的服务。

疫情进一步加速了这一趋势的进程。由于娱乐或发行活动受到了限制,用于补救的零售业务便移到了线上。很多人更加习惯于这种“无摩擦”经济:需要什么物品只需在手机上点击,然后货物就会送到家门口。电商和送货企业则通过加班加点,来满足甚至超越客户对送货极限速度的需求,从奶酪汉堡、打印机一直到木材。正因为因此,为心仪的物品等待一周的时间似乎是一件难以想象的事情,至少对消费者来说是这样。咨询公司Mercer的梅丽莎·斯威夫特最近对Axios说:“科技已经让上层社会摆脱了实现其生活方式所需的体力劳动。”

尽管无等待文化对环境、劳动力带来了负面影响,可能连我们的精神都未能幸免于难,但要逆转这一现象着实不易。有证据表明,供应链压力已经见顶,即便如此,要回归正常状态仍需要数月的时间。与此同时,劳动力紧缩可能会持续数年的时间。如今,我们不得不学会再次等待。然而在消费者预期发生改变之前,我们很难打破这个循环。如果人们不能总是立即得到自己想要的东西,我们真的能学会接受吗?这一点还有待观察。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

本·德瑞福斯想通过购物来犒劳自己。这位最近搬到爱达荷州太阳谷的演员兼作家(也是奥斯卡得主理查德的儿子)希望以不错的价格买到自己心仪的物品,而且按照人们在购物时习以为常的收货时间表:马上。

他失败了。在这篇Twitter上的长帖中,他愤怒地指出,自己无法在当地买到价格合适的物品,而线上物品的送货速度不够快。他埋怨说:“想在亚马逊购物吗?恭喜,到手得一周的时间。”德瑞福斯称,他唯一的选择就是往返240多公里的路程,前往距离最近的Bed Bath & Beyond。之所以出现这种“社会性故障”,其原因在于供应链的吃紧以及15年以来因电子商务而日渐式微的本土商业。

德瑞福斯很快便成为了人们的抨击对象,即便他将其牛肉描述为“爱达荷小镇”的一种生活方式,也是于事无补。太阳谷的豪华滑雪度假村并不能完全被看作典型的美国中部农村地区。然而人们不得不面对的事实在于:很多人在最近几周可能都遭受了类似的挫折。供应链的确十分吃紧,正因为如此,消费者才不得已接受了等待这种方式,但这一点却与大型企业和科技公司坚定不移、绞尽脑汁数耗费数十年才想出的解决办法背道而驰。有鉴于这个形势,我们不得不等待。一台冰箱要等6个月的时间,沙发要等9个月,一些游戏玩家依然无法买到一台哪怕是一年前便已经面世的PS5。

供应链之殇并非是唯一的罪魁祸首,但这些祸首让人们开始聚焦当代商业所依赖的复杂的制造和运输网络。库存水平处于低位,亚洲工厂因新冠疫情而放缓或暂停了生产;从长滩到萨凡纳,各大港口均出现了货船滞留现象。像沃尔玛、好市多(Costco)和家得宝(Home Depot)这样的大型零售商则通过自行租赁船只来确保店面供货。人们得提前一天采购节日货物:专家预计所有物品的交货期都会延长,从玩具和小物件(尤其是涉及半导体芯片的物品,因为芯片缺货非常严重)一直到家用新冠病毒测试包。在洛杉矶港最近转为24小时作业之后,拜登总统称这一现象表明,消费者遭遇的种种不便事实上已成为一个政治问题。

等待商品不单只会让人们感到沮丧。客户一直在宣泄不满,抱怨餐厅的等待时间长,飞机晚点。这也导致大量的服务员工辞去工作,助长了创纪录离职所带来的“辞职潮”劳动力紧缩,这一现象最终又会导致员工的进一步减少,加剧等待时长。这里有一个基准:彭博专栏作家塔拉·拉查佩勒最近引用了来自于Stephens Inc.一则研究纪要,该纪要称Domino披萨的送货时间在今夏“突然、令人惊讶地延长了30%”,而且一直没有恢复如初,可能是受司机短缺的影响。即便是邮政局也延长了送货时间,并称此举是成本削减计划的一部分。

你可以将这种等待延长看作是“影子通胀”。在影子通胀时期,各大公司不会提升价格,但花同样的钱,你得到的量变少了。这可能意味着糖块的尺寸略微缩小,亦或意味着等待时间的变长。例如一些汽车销售商正在提醒潜在的买家要多准备几个选项,因为要购买其心仪的颜色和配置将需要等待一段时间:新车短缺的情况可能会延续至明年。

尽管如此,在等待回归之际,可能最容易忽视的一个因素在于:供应方的混乱恰好碰上了需求方的暴涨,而消费者则继续通过花钱来满足其被抑制的、对各类事物的渴望,从电器和耐用品一直到体验和服务。尽管遭遇涨价、短缺以及新冠病毒变种德尔塔,但我们对物品的需求明显没有任何减弱的迹象。与人们的预期相反的是,零售额(包括餐厅和酒吧以及服装和家居产品店等)在9月份再次增长。S&P Global 的一位经济学家对《纽约时报》(New York Times)说:“人们有花钱的意愿;问题在于他们是否能找到这些物品。”

正因为如此,当前这个时期展示了“不等待”对于消费者的重要性。我们已经习惯于立即获得自己想要的东西,因为这是长期以来公司给消费者灌输的理念。在过去一个世纪中,销售的一个决定性特征便是通过改善科技和物流,来缩短愿望与满足感交付之间的时间。亚马逊的发展轨迹便凸显了这个更广泛的现象:其“包罗万象的店面”拥有无限的品类,它热忱满满地致力于满足人们及时行乐的冲动。这也是为什么亚马逊Prime车队的车辆摇身一变,纷纷向联邦快递或联合包裹卡车看齐。这也是为什么当消费者发现要等待一周的时间才能拿到自己心仪的物品时,难免会勃然大怒,哪怕就在不久前,家用产品的极速送货服务还是一个非常博眼球的创新,而并非是与人权挂钩的服务。

疫情进一步加速了这一趋势的进程。由于娱乐或发行活动受到了限制,用于补救的零售业务便移到了线上。很多人更加习惯于这种“无摩擦”经济:需要什么物品只需在手机上点击,然后货物就会送到家门口。电商和送货企业则通过加班加点,来满足甚至超越客户对送货极限速度的需求,从奶酪汉堡、打印机一直到木材。正因为因此,为心仪的物品等待一周的时间似乎是一件难以想象的事情,至少对消费者来说是这样。咨询公司Mercer的梅丽莎·斯威夫特最近对Axios说:“科技已经让上层社会摆脱了实现其生活方式所需的体力劳动。”

尽管无等待文化对环境、劳动力带来了负面影响,可能连我们的精神都未能幸免于难,但要逆转这一现象着实不易。有证据表明,供应链压力已经见顶,即便如此,要回归正常状态仍需要数月的时间。与此同时,劳动力紧缩可能会持续数年的时间。如今,我们不得不学会再次等待。然而在消费者预期发生改变之前,我们很难打破这个循环。如果人们不能总是立即得到自己想要的东西,我们真的能学会接受吗?这一点还有待观察。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

Ben Dreyfuss needed a comforter. And the actor and writer (and son of Oscar-winner Richard), who had recently moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, expected to get a satisfactory one at a good price on the same timetable that we’ve all become used to receiving consumer goods: right away.

It didn’t work out. In what became a lengthy Twitter thread, he raged that he couldn’t find an affordable comforter locally, and no online options could deliver quickly enough. “You want something on Amazon?” he groused. “Congrats, it will be here in a week.” His only option, Dreyfuss claimed, was to make a 150-mile roundtrip to the nearest Bed Bath & Beyond—“a societal failure” sparked by a stressed supply chain and 15 years of e-commerce wiping out local business.

Dreyfuss was promptly roasted—it didn’t help that he also framed his beef as a function of “small town Idaho” life; Sun Valley’s posh ski resorts don’t exactly typify rural Middle America. But let’s face it: Many of us have likely felt a similar frustration in recent weeks. The supply chain really is stressed, and that is part of what is causing consumers to do something that reverses decades of determined and sophisticated efforts by big business and technology. It is forcing us to wait. Six months for a refrigerator, nine months for a couch; some gamers are still having trouble getting hold of a PS5, which came out nearly a year ago.

Supply-chain woes aren’t the only culprit, but they’ve directed unprecedented attention toward the elaborate manufacturing and transportation networks that enable modern commerce. Inventories are thin; factories across Asia have been slowed or paused by COVID-19 issues; cargo ships are logjammed at ports from Long Beach to Savannah. Big retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Home Depot have chartered their own ships to keep shelves stocked. You need to finish your holiday shopping by, well, yesterday: Experts expect slowed delivery of everything from toys and gizmos (particularly anything that involves a semiconductor chip, notoriously in short supply) to home COVID test kits. When the Port of Los Angeles recently moved to 24-hour operations, it was announced by President Biden, an indicator that consumer inconvenience has become a de facto political issue.

People aren’t just upset about waiting for goods. Customers have been acting out, venting about long waits at restaurants or flight delays. This is contributing to an epic number of service workers leaving their jobs, fueling the record quitting of the so-called Great Resignation labor squeeze—which of course ultimately leads to thin staffing that results in more waiting. One benchmark: Bloomberg columnist Tara Lachapelle recently cited a research note from Stephens Inc. claiming that this summer Domino’s delivery times “abruptly and surprisingly spiked 30%,” and have not recovered, likely due to a driver shortage. Even the post office is slowing some deliveries as part of a cost-cutting scheme.

You can think of this waiting boom as a form of “shadow inflation.” That’s when instead of raising prices, companies give you less for the amount you’re used to paying. Maybe that means a subtly smaller candy bar. Or maybe it means increased wait times. Some car sellers, for instance, are warning potential buyers to be flexible, because getting the exact color and make they want is going to take a while: Vehicle shortages are expected to stretch into next year.

That said, maybe the most underrated factor in the return of waiting is that the supply-side snarls are coinciding with a demand-side explosion, as consumers continue to spend on their pent-up desire for everything from appliances and durable goods to experiences and services. Our demand for stuff evidently continues unabated, despite higher prices, shortages, and the Delta variant. Retail sales (including restaurants and bars along with clothing and home-goods stores and the like) rose again in September, contrary to expectations. “People are willing to spend; it’s just a question if they can find the items,” an economist at S&P Global told the New York Times.

That’s why this moment is shining a spotlight on how important not waiting has become to consumers. We have come to expect to get what we want ASAP because that’s what companies have trained us to expect. A defining characteristic of the past century of selling has been the honing of technology and logistics to shorten the time between the spark of your desire and the delivery of its satisfaction. Amazon’s trajectory is an obvious stand-in for the broader phenomenon: Its “everything store,” with its proposition of infinite variety, has fully merged with a zeal to satisfy instant-gratification urges. Thus the fleets of Amazon Prime vans that have swiftly become as familiar as Fedex or UPS trucks. And thus the outrage when a shopper discovers he might have to wait a week for a comforter, even though it wasn’t so long ago that the speedy delivery of home goods was a dazzling innovation—not something akin to a human right.

The pandemic accelerated the trend even more. With options for entertainment or release curtailed, retail therapy went online. Many got even more used to a “frictionless” economy: You want something, you tap your phone a few times, and it’s on its way to your door. Both e-commerce and delivery businesses ramped up to meet and exceed demand for maximum speed in bringing customers everything from cheeseburgers to printers to lumber. Ultimately, it really did seem like waiting a week for a comforter was somehow unthinkable, for consumers, at least. “Technology has insulated the upper classes from the physical labor that enables their lifestyle," Melissa Swift of the consulting firm Mercer told Axios recently.

While no-wait culture has had negative consequences on the environment, on labor, and perhaps on our psyches, it won’t be easy to reverse. There is some evidence that supply-chain stress has peaked, but even if that’s the case, it will take months to wind things back to normal-ish. The labor squeeze, meanwhile, is expected to last for years. For now, we are being forced to learn to wait again. But the cycle won’t really break without a change in consumer expectations. Can we really learn to accept that you can’t always get what you want immediately? We’ll have to wait and see.

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