Apr 28, 2021

UPS beats expectations across the board in Q1 earnings

UPS
Logistics
Supplychain
EarningsReport
Rhys Thomas
2 min
CEO Carol Tomé also confirms major digitisation investment in supply chain division, which posted record revenues
CEO Carol Tomé also confirms major digitisation investment in supply chain division, which posted record revenues...

A commitment to “delivering what matters” during the first quarter of 2021 has lifted consolidated revenue at UPS by 27% compared with the same period last year, rising to $22.9bn. 

On the back of growth across all segments the business posted group operating profit of $2.8bn, a 158% increase. In its domestic US market, revenue increased by 22.3% to just over $14bn, with an operating profit of 9.7% ($1.36bn). 

UPS' Supply Chain and Freight segment performed particularly well, posting record quarterly revenue of $4.29bn, an increase of more than a third (34.4%). Operating profit for the divison reached $321m, or 7.5%. UPS confirmed its divestment of UPS Freight to TFI remains on track and is expected to complete “by the end of this month”. 

Chief executive Carol Tomé, who was appointed amid the pandemic’s first wave in 2020, was emphatic that UPS’ role in the vaccination effort and strategic support of SMEs were behind the uplift. 

“I want to thank all UPSers for delivering what matters, including COVID-19 vaccines,” she said. “During the quarter, we continued to execute our strategy under the better not bigger framework, which enabled us to win the best opportunities in the market and drove record financial results.” 

CEO Tomé: investment in supply chain digitisation continues

In a conference call with investors and media, Tomé said UPS has ambitions to “provide the best digital experience powered by our smart global logistics network”. Using SaaS to simplify the billing system for customers is one example of the ways in which the business is already investing in sweeping changes to reach that goal, Tomé said. 

“Another is the digitisation that's occurring within our Supply Chain and Freight segment. We are moving from telephone based quotes to online quoting. This new digital experience is driving simplification across the entire value chain.”

Pressed to offer specifics, the chief executive said further investments in capabilities, rather than just CapEx, would be revealed in greater detail at this year’s investor conference in June. 

UPS did not issue a revenue guidance, citing the prevailing uncertainty and volatility in the marketplace. 

Pictured: UPS-branded eVTOLs are expected to join the fleet in 2024 / UPS

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

DHL
Supplychain
COVID19
Logistics
3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.

 

This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


 

Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 

 

Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 

 

In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.

 

“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


 

How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 

 

Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 


Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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