May 17, 2020

Reports show UPS ahead of the supply chain curve

Air freight
Forward Air
Shipping Company
Freddie Pierce
2 min
UPS and other shipping and logistics leaders are reaping the benefits of e-commerce growth
Written BY: k.scarpati Its difficult for any supply chain company to show economic stability in these uncertain times, let alone growth. But United Par...

Written BY: k.scarpati

It’s difficult for any supply chain company to show economic stability in these uncertain times, let alone growth.

But United Parcel Service has kept on defying the odds throughout the first quarter in 2011, with the shipping company reporting an increase in revenues and the highest gross margin in the air freight and logistics industry.

UPS’ first quarter net income of $1.11 billion is an extremely encouraging sign for the shipping company, which has operations in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

The shipping company’s cash flow from operations has also increased from last quarter’s, which indicating a good sign for investors with UPS.

Check out the bar chart here to see just how much United Parcel Service has grown over the past year, with the trend continuing into 2011.


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In a separate report published earlier this week, COMTEX reported that United Parcel Service has a gross margin of 48.9 percent, handily taking first place over second place Forward Air, who showed a gross margin just above 30 percent.

Gross margin shows how many sales dollars spent go toward profit, meaning UPS is getting better results for every dollar spent in the air freight and logistics industry. The report also showed that United Parcel Service has a 12-month sales figure of $49.5 billion.

2011 has just begun, but these leading economic indicators are an excellent sign for one of the world’s supply chain giants.

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Jun 15, 2021

FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles

3 min
FedEx is expanding a trial of autonomous vehicles in its last-mile logistics process with partner Nuro, including multi-stop and appointment deliveries

FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics. 

The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener". 

FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, going beyond more traditional applications of the technology in single-route movement of goods from A-B. Exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its broader experimentation in new autonomy solutions, Fed-Ex says, both in-warehouse and on-road. 

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, Vice President, Advanced Technology and Innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”


The changing role of couriers 

Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time. 

But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse. 

“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”

Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds. 

Last mile's role in ESG

Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings. 

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