European Customers are looking for complete solutions with a global reach
A recent survey commissioned by DHL has revealed that companies are facing a fast-changing market environment, be it in terms of geopolitical changes or technological transformation. But in terms of their ground transportation operations, by far the biggest issue on companies’ minds is e-commerce and its implications on service and ground transportation requirements.
Especially the extraordinarily high service expectations born of e-commerce are impacting businesses. Just to name a few: customers are expecting same or next day delivery, variable last-mile delivery options, high in-transit visibility, as well as flexible or free return policies and always-in-stock inventories. Services that are increasingly challenging.
The DHL survey found out that the impact of e-commerce on markets, in general, and ground transportation in particular, varies by region. For example, when comparing the impact of e-commerce over the next one to two years versus three to five years, US respondents expect the impact to slightly decrease, from 63% to 60% while, in Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America, that same impact number increases from 65% to 69%.
The research showed that throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, more and more mega-urban centers are deploying congestion pricing and tolls on vehicles entering urban areas during peak business times – or, in some cases, at any time. Environmental concerns about transportation’s significant carbon footprint will grow as an issue and a potential constraint in delivering goods into these highly populated urban areas. Today, 76% of respondents stated legislation around mandatory carbon reporting is having a big impact on their transportation decision making.
Broader societal factors were also highlighted as presenting associated challenges, with 61% of companies referencing the increase in urbanization as a factor that will significantly impact their future business. Technology and its ability to help manage this complex environment are increasingly seen as a standard requirement of 3PLs: more than two thirds (67%) of companies believe that big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are services that are essential for 3PLs to offer their shipper customers.