Mike O'Brien

mobrien@accessintel.com / MikeOBmcm

Mike O’Brien has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for … well, quite a while. At Multichannel Merchant he focuses on the world of direct-to-customer operations and fulfillment, editing MCM’s weekly O+F Advisor newsletter, and programs the annual Ecommerce Operations Summit conference. Previously Mike was a senior account executive for Marx Communications, a boutique public relations firm working with marketing and advertising technology companies. Other past work includes stints as a media relations consultant for a concert promoter, a marketing communications specialist for a pharma software firm, a research analyst covering corporate e-learning and a daily newspaper reporter on every beat imaginable – except sports.

Top 3PL List for 2019 Published by Multichannel Merchant

| Mike O'Brien

Multichannel Merchant has published its fourth annual MCM Top 3PL listing for 2019, a searchable directory of leading third-party logistics (3PL) providers in ecommerce and direct-to-customer operations. This key resource lists the capabilities and experience of over 50 top 3PL providers, helping you select the right one for your needs.

Warehouse Workers Looking to Unionize in New York, New Jersey

| Mike O'Brien

Warehouse workers made their voices heard twice this week, both times involving Amazon and unionization, while in New Jersey labor groups are seeking safer conditions and better pay in ecommerce facilities statewide. Expect the unionization push to pick up momentum in 2019 as reports of working conditions continue to grow.

FedEx Leveraging Automation to Handle Peak Volumes

| Mike O'Brien

FedEx is testing the use of autonomous tugs to transport items within its sortation and distribution facilities in an effort to handle the growing volume of bulky ecommerce orders more efficiently. See what other types of automation the carrier is using to optimize the massive flow of packages through its network at peak.

UPS 2019 Rate Increase of 4.9% Given 3 Weeks Before Effective Date

| Mike O'Brien

Less than three weeks before the new prices take effect the day after Christmas, UPS announced its 2019 rate schedule, including an overall increase of 4.9% for its ground, air and international services, leaving shippers scrambling to adapt at the busiest time of year. See what charges went up and what it means.

Instacart Pricing Change Leading to Threats of a Shopper Boycott

| Mike O'Brien

Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery company used by many grocers, is dealing with customer ire as freelance shoppers fulfilling the orders are passing up some jobs due to a change in the pricing structures. Also a number of shoppers have taken to Twitter to call for a boycott of the service due to a drop in their wages.

Amazon Misses Jeff Bezos’ Bold Deadline for Drone Delivery

| Mike O'Brien

In late 2013, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos boldly proclaimed on the popular CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” that drones would be delivering orders for its customers within five years. But apparently, the future isn’t now according to a report in the Seattle Times.

Report Finds U.S. Retailers Underperforming in Key Omnichannel Categories

| Mike O'Brien

Given all the attention paid to buy online pickup in store including its popularity with shoppers, only 28% of U.S. retailers currently offer the service, compared to 64% of British retailers providing its cousin, click and collect, according to a report from OrderDynamics. Retailers here were also found lagging in other categories.

DHL Investing $300M in Warehouse Robotics, Automation

| Mike O'Brien

Deutsche Post unit DHL Supply Chain North America is investing $300 million to increase the level of automation and robotics at 350 of its 430 facilities, to better handle the crush of ecommerce orders. DHL also plans to open a 24,000-square-foot innovation center near Chicago in September 2019.