Sony Ericsson hit by supply chain woes
As expected, the second quarter was rough for Japanese electronics companies.
Mobile handset leader Sony Ericsson was hit hard by the Japan disaster, as problems in the company’s supply chain caused a second-quarter net loss.
“We estimate that the impact of earthquake-related supply chain constraints on our portfolio was close to 1.5 million units, with most of the effect in the early part of the quarter,” Sony Ericsson Chief Executive Bert Nordberg told the Wall Street Journal.
Disruptions in the company’s supply chain forced a delay of the launch o the Xperia Neo Phone until the third quarter, as revenue also fell to €1.19 billion.
Thanks to the supply chain shortages, shipments also fell in the second quarter, as Sony Ericsson shipped 7.6 million units during the quarter, a 31 percent decrease from last year.
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There was a bit of good news for consumers, however, as the average price of a Sony Ericsson handset fell from €160 to €156.
Despite the supply chain shortages, Sony Ericsson plans to continue its push in the Smartphone department.
“Our shift to Android-based Smartphones continues with Smartphone sales accounting for more than 70 percent of our total sales during the quarter,” Nordberg said.
The company estimated that its global Smartphone market share was approximately 11 percent by both volume and value.
FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles
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, beyond the boundaries mass movement of goods from A-B. The logistics company says the exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its experimentation in new autonomy solutions, 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.