DHL to invest €140m to enhance its business in Southeast Asia
Currently the market leader in the supply chain industry in Southeast Asia, DHL Supply Chain has announced a new €140m investment into its South East Asian business, to be completed by 2015. The bulk of the investments will go towards investing in new facilities, advanced IT solutions, expansion in transportation and bolstering staff strength and training.
“We plan to double our size in the next two to three years. We’re already off to a strong start – by the end of 2013, we will have opened seven best-in-class multi-user facilities across strategic locations in South East Asia,” said Oscar de Bok, DHL Supply Chain CEO for South and Southeast Asia. “These investments in quality, facilities, transport capabilities, IT and people are necessary to meet the needs of our customers in the region.”
The seven new facilities to be completed in 2013 include bespoke solutions to target growth in specific industries. Earlier this year, DHL launched a 17,000 square meter built-to-suit warehouse in Cimanggis, Indonesia, which boasts special features tailored for customers in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. The company will also launch a new facility at Bangna, Thailand this year, to support its continuous growth in the retail, fashion and consumer sectors, and a new built-to-suit facility in Bac Ninh, Vietnam to cater to the retail, consumer and technology sectors. Developments are also underway for new facilities in Singapore and parts of Malaysia.
By 2015, DHL Supply Chain will substantially increase its transport fleet, both owned and managed. The company also plans to grow its staff strength by some 65% to approximately 25,000 people and add over 50% more warehouse capacity to operate around 1,400,000 sq meters across the region.
DHL Supply Chain is also continuing to invest in advanced IT solutions covering best-in-class transport, warehouse management and valued added solutions which will offer customers access to scalable, state-of-the art solutions for greater visibility and management. Southeast Asia, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $1.9 trillion has seen a rising expansion of the middle class. By 2015, it is estimated that some 145 million people, in South East Asia will be considered middle class, up from 95 million in 2010. The region’s consistent economic growth has seen many businesses look to the region not, only as a source of manufacturing and production, but increasingly a key market for domestic consumption.
For DHL Supply Chain, these trends have resulted in an increased need for broader solutions such as integrated warehousing, distribution, and transportation. In addition to recent investments announced by DHL Supply Chain in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, the EUR 140 million investment will go towards other markets in South East Asia, building on existing capabilities to grow the company’s footprint.
“As businesses grow and enlarge their distribution footprint, their supply chain operations become more complex. This is where DHL can lend its global expertise and local experience - by fully managing our customers’ logistics, we enable them to focus on their core business,” said Oscar de Bok.
“We have an established track record across key industries – consumer, technology, retail and automotive sectors. With an established business in the life sciences and healthcare industry in Singapore and around the world, we’re also looking to grow this sector in tandem with the growth in the region.”
DHL and UPS: How is 3PL Evolving in 2021?
To optimise their supply chains, many companies have turned to third-party logistics providers—3PLs—to outsource how they manage inventory, stock warehouses, fulfil customer orders, pack pallets, and handle returns. Especially in the midst of the pandemic, corporations have struggled to satisfy their customers, mitigate shipping delays, and react to rapid spikes in demand. In short: if logistics isn’t your core competency, rely on the experts.
To examine the current state of 3PL, we decided to have a quick roundtable with Philippe Gilbert, President of UPS Supply Chain Solutions, and Phil Roe, Chief Customer Officer and Strategy Director at DHL Supply Chain. Here’s what they have to say on the subject:
What are the fundamental benefits of partnering with a third-party logistics provider?
‘Proper supply chain visibility and planning is one of the key challenges facing modern supply chains’, says Phil. ‘Supply chains now cover multiple jurisdictions across significant distances. They’re also omnichannel, meaning that it’s now standard practice for there to be multiple routes to the customer’. Philippe adds that, ‘3PLs can deliver efficiencies and resources across the supply chain that are difficult for most businesses to replicate’.
According to a study from UPS Global Logistics, five major challenges drive companies to outsource:
- Limited Space
- Increased Customer Expectations
- Faster Order Fulfilment
- Reduced Labour Costs
- Multiple Fulfilment Channels
Now, the pandemic has accelerated 3PL adoption. In that same UPS survey, 29% of respondents indicated that they’d switch to outsourcing their logistics as a direct result of the past year. ‘One of the biggest issues impacting our current customers is the timing on inventory levels’, says Philippe. ‘Production delays out of APAC have pushed receipts and built back orders of products’.
How are 3PLs helping businesses cope with broader disruptions, such as Brexit, transport logjams, and driver shortages?
‘We can categorise supply chain disruptions into three broad areas’, explains Phil. ‘Demand-side, supply-side, and environmental. Some of these are easier to control than others, but all benefit from proper oversight and the ability to quickly adapt’. When the Brits finalised Brexit, for example, DHL scaled up areas that needed specialist support, such as customs processing. ‘We can leverage our network and redeploy on demand’, he explains.
As for UPS, the company developed a post-Brexit SCS solution that enabled its clients to keep inventory closer to their UK customers. ‘We can maintain a broad portfolio of carriers and providers to quickly adapt to supply chain disruptions’, Philippe says. ‘This allows customers to avoid service delays, added costs, and administrative burdens associated with customs clearance’.
Next, this conversation would be incomplete if we didn’t talk about how the boom in e-commerce has affected 3PL.
Do you anticipate that e-commerce growth will continue?
‘The growth of the past 18 months shows no sign of slowing down’, Phil says. ‘Consumer habits have altered, in some cases, permanently. Over the last eight months, DHL has seen a 150% increase in its fulfilment division—reflecting the soaring demand’. To keep up, the company has focused on data and automation, as well as deploying robotics solutions alongside its employees. ‘Whether that’s automated pallet systems or pick-and-pack robots’, Phil explains, ‘we’ve coupled technology and data to manage demand, meet customer expectations, and smooth out labour requirements’.
Fundamentally, e-commerce is driving demand for additional labour and space. ‘This presents a unique opportunity for 3PL’, Philippe says. ‘New entrants in retail platforms, though currently small, will look to disrupt the giant retail players. They’ll be closer to their customers in the city. And they’ll try to unify and digitalise SME brick-and-mortar retailers’.
How are shifting customer expectations - such as the next-day “Amazon Effect” - impacting 3PL?
‘We see 3PLs expanding their networks to be closer to consumers and integrating fulfilment with last-mile delivery’, says Philippe. ‘They have to expand their reverse logistics, including investments in warehouse space’. He suggests that data analytics can enhance visibility and help 3PL companies address inefficiencies. ‘With the right technology’, he says, ‘businesses can access accurate, connected data and derive actionable insights’.
Predictive and prescriptive analytics, when coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning, can help companies understand when, why, and how supply chain disruptions occur. ‘This way’, Philippe adds, ‘they can prepare for them—or better yet, sidestep them completely’.
In addition, customers now expect companies to follow through on their social commitments...
Can 3PLs help organisations deliver on their ESG objectives, such as reducing carbon emissions?
Absolutely. Through UPS’s Eco-Responsible Packaging Programme, for instance, the company evaluates its clients’ packaging processes to determine the best way to protect their products and the planet. In addition, the corporation works with carriers on creative, lower-emissions solutions. ‘By 2025, we plan to source 40% of all ground fuel from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel’, Philippe explains. ‘That’s nearly double what we used in 2016’. By then, 25% of UPS’s total electricity will come from renewable sources.
As for DHL, the company offers a portfolio of GoGreen solutions, which offers its customers a range of ways to minimise their impact on the environment. ‘This includes everything from carbon reporting and analytics solutions to investments in internationally-recognised climate protection projects’, says Phil. ‘Sustainability provides us an opportunity to collaborate with our customers’.
Yet, it’s often challenging to serve customers in highly regulated industries. How can companies overcome those hurdles?
‘Companies operating in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals and life science face extra pressure on their supply chains’, Phil explains. ‘Dealing with rapidly growing changes then requires depth and breadth, which is something a global business such as DHL can offer’. To overcome regulatory challenges, DHL offers its clients dedicated sector specialists who understand niche industries but still have access to its global network.
At the end of the day, Philippe comments, 3PLs must take responsibility for running compliant programmes and services. ‘Licensed or not’, he says, ‘they’ll need to work with their highly regulated customers to ensure that SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and audit processes are in place’.
What do the next 12 months hold for 3PL providers?
‘Providers will focus on mastering omnichannel e-commerce’, says Philippe. ‘You’ll see faster last-mile delivery, more sustainable logistics and packaging, and better forecasting for risk management’. Overall, he notes, 3PL providers will invest in data analytics and new warehouse technologies to provide greater visibility into their supply chains.
For example, UPS is rolling out a new suite of digital engagement tools. According to Philippe, the company introduced a new UPS Forwarding Hub, UPS Customs Brokerage, and CoyoteGo portals to help their supply chain solution clients. In addition, its e-Fulfilment and Ware2Go products help small- and medium-sized businesses outsource with ease. ‘We’ve focused on adopting technologies to improve our operations’, Philippe says.
Finally, UPS’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG) has implemented robotics, drones, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, new software platforms, and sensor technologies to increase its 2021 revenues and cut bottom-line costs. Says Philippe: ‘With these tools, we can meet customer expectations for real-time tracking, end-to-end visibility, and personalised service’.
And there you have it: the future of 3PL.