The growth of e-commerce in the coming years calls for new logistics solutions

Spanish company Cadena de Suministro has convened key players of E-commerce in Spain in a round table discussion focused on the challenges posed by the growth of electronic commerce from a point of view of logistics management. The event brought together numerous leading companies from the sector.

Electronic commerce will continue to grow in the coming few years at the pace it has been doing in the last three years. Gradually, new e-commerce specific products will be incorporated into the supply chain and, in addition, delivery services will be extended to smaller population and rural areas.

The round table on the logistics of electronic commerce was held in Madrid on February 27, and was organized by Cadena de Suministro with the sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz Vans. The event was attended by Álvaro Ruíz de Gordoa, commercial director of Transportes Boyacá, Oriol López, commercial director of Celéritas, Santiago Mallo director of Logistics of Citibox, Alberto Marcos, manager of e-commerce of Correos Express, Juan Alonso, manager of the project Citylogin of FM Logistic, Daniel Pastrana manager of B2C of DHL Parcel, Francisco Castillo, production and IT manager of Dachser, Aitor Ojanguren, general director of Koiki, Noelia Lázaro, marketing director of Packlink, Juan Pérez de Lema, operations director of Seur, Antonio Fueyo, general director of Tipsa, Francisco Aranda, secretary general de Uno, and Carlos Nieto, director of Marketing and Product of Mercedes Benz Vans, with the moderation of Ricardo Ochoa de Aspuru, director of Cadena de Suministro.

This sustained growth of electronic commerce planned for the coming years in double-digit volumes will demand new solutions from the logistics sector, in order to extend the area of coverage of e-commerce deliveries, whether at home, point of convenience networks, as well as to service deliveries of food products, among others.

Economic and environmental sustainability

In addition to facing this growth, logistics will also have to face other major challenges related to the sustainability of the electronic commerce supply chain, both from an economic point of view and from an environmental point of view.

From the economic point of view, there is a consensus in the sector on the need to look for new alternatives for home deliveries, especially in the context in which the municipal regulations for access to urban centers are more restrictive.

Likewise, with the generalization of the use of slogans and points of convenience, the logistics sector seeks to gain profitability and efficiency, while improving customer service, avoiding failed deliveries and improving reverse logistics to provide an optimum return service.

New services for other ways to buy

At the same time, logistics companies are also developing new services associated with electronic commerce such as night deliveries or the diversification of delivery emergencies, ranging from ultra-fast deliveries in two hours to scheduled services with periods of 48 hours, with the goal of adapting its services to the requirements and needs of the clients, as well as optimising the management of equipment and human resources.

The adaptation of logistics companies to the changes that are taking place in consumer models (which, for example, will imply changes in the concept of physical stores, which will become spaces in which to foster new experiences for customers – showrooms) and in the needs of electronic commerce, which will involve more investments in information technologies, equipment and personnel that, in the opinion of the main packagers of the country, will be reflected in the prices if a sustainable model is sought.

Thus, the emergence of new consumer models implies a clear trend towards omni-channels with which we want to provide closer and more personalized services and in which physical stores will evolve to offer new shopping experiences.

From the environmental point of view, the logistics sector seeks a balance between the reduction of emissions and the profitability of economic means.

The reduction of polluting emissions associated with logistic activities will imply the use of vehicles with alternative energies, as well as diesel units that are less polluting. In this sense, according to Mercedes-Benz Vans, a sponsor of the round table, the future of urban distribution of electronic commerce products inevitably involves the use of electric vehicles, with gas-powered units as an intermediate step.

Electromobility and connectivity, tools for the future

The manufacturers are working intensively to put vehicles with load capacities and autonomies similar to those with their diesel equivalents on the market as soon as possible, with advantages associated with a greater degree of connectivity that helps in the optimisation of routes and brings about a more rational use of transportation equipment in congested environments.

Likewise, environmental sustainability will mark an increase in investments in information technology for logistics operators in order to improve the management of transport fleets and optimize the use of vehicles, to achieve greater profitability and better service to the clients through the use of more powerful traceability tools that allow the sector to take advantage of the huge volume of data produced by the movement of merchandise across the supply chain through big data applications.

This last element, in the opinion of the operators and the parcel companies, constitutes an important lever of growth for the future. Not in vain is logistics the visible face for the final consumer of electronic commerce and plays a fundamental role in the valuation of the service itself and in customer loyalty.

Source: Cadena de Suministro