How to avoid a Yodel supply chain disaster
Fears of a Christmas parcel logjam escalated after Yodel, the UK’s biggest delivery company after Royal Mail, admitted that it had stopped collecting parcels from retailers last week as it struggled to deliver the vast volume of online present shopping.
After frantic spending on Black Friday at the end of November when 24-hour promotions pushed sales 50 percent higher than expected, and the festive rush in online orders that peaked on Monday, shoppers now face a wait to see if gifts and parcels arrive in time for Christmas. Yesterday, as it halted parcel pickups, Yodel said deliveries were taking three days longer than had been planned.
Dan Wagner founder and CEO of retail and ecommerce Specialist Company Powa Technologies said: “Consumers are changing the way they shop and are no longer waiting for retailers to come up with the best deals. They are more selective and savvy with their buying decisions, and more demanding in how they receive their purchases.
“Shopping events like Cyber Monday, originally a creation of the retail industry and an import from the US, are now moving the milestones of when the peak gift buying season begins, fuelled by the widespread access to smartphones and tablets this year. The delivery infrastructure must now quickly catch up to address this fundamental shift in retailing, for what is the busiest time of year."
Parcel delivery companies need to heed the warning emanating from the Yodel disaster, and plan accordingly. This means ensuring that the entire supply chain must be prepared for peak volumes much earlier in the year, as the advance planning will help unexpected fluctuations.
The emergence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday will surely now be ingrained into most courier companies minds now too, with both events now taking hold in the UK effecting consumer behaviour.
It will be interesting to see how organisations envisage how much increase in volume these events will have before Christmas in 2015. The company who successfully does this will invariably get the most complimentary customer feedback.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.