DHL Supply Chain conducted a global survey of more than 200 transportation decision makers across the globe and within all the major industry sectors, asking about their current and future transportation operations and strategies.
One of the main takeaways from the survey was that these days the majority of decision makers view transportation as a strategic component of business growth, rather than as a commodity. Jim Monkmeyer, president of transportation at DHL Supply Chain, emphasized the crucial role that supply chain and transportation is playing as it moves up the “strategic importance ladder”, with transportation conversations now happening at the C-suite table.
The booming e-commerce industry and the increasing challenges of doing last mile deliveries in dense urban areas are driving businesses to look at transportation as more than just moving goods from point A to point B. The survey emphasized the growing impact that e-commerce will have on transportation strategy decisions in the future. Even today, 29% of respondents said that e-commerce is the trend with the greatest impact on their strategies, while 65% said that e-commerce will have a significant impact on their future transportation strategies.
In addition, the survey showed a growing willingness to pay for certain value-added services and options in transportation, as long as they generate measurable return. Consumers’ ever increasing service expectations are impacting each and every business that has goods or services that need to be delivered. Same or next-day delivery, flexible or free return policies, and immediate problem resolution are good examples of the current level of service expectations which need to be met.
Transportation is finally moving beyond its traditional role as a commodity and quickly taking its rightful place in boardrooms as a strategic business differentiator. This means that businesses are coming under increasing pressure to keep pace, regardless of the maturity level of their region or market. They all face a shared challenge to create supply chains that are agile and smart, while also optimizing cost and service. The time is now for organizations to leverage the best technology, form the appropriate partnerships/alliances, and create first and last mile operational models that are right for them, thus providing their company with a clear competitive advantage.