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Cost-effective logistics strategies for businesses generating more online sales

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Cost-effective logistics strategies for businesses generating more online sales. Image: Pixabay
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The Covid-19 crisis has triggered an increase in online sales. With more and more businesses all over the world offering a home delivery service, it pays to focus on cost-effective logistics strategies. While boosting orders and adapting to a new way of selling is beneficial for businesses aiming to pull through the crisis, it’s critical to ensure added shipping costs are accounted for. Here are some steps to balance the books. 

Plan in advance

The vast majority of businesses were caught off-guard by the outbreak of Covid-19 at the beginning of 2020. Now that we have a better understanding of what it means for global trade and consumer buying habits, companies can adjust and adapt and start to make plans in advance. One of the most important considerations when offering online shopping is crunching the numbers related to logistics. Will you be paying for warehousing and distribution? How many packages are you expecting to send or ship per day? Are you dealing with customers locally, nationally or internationally? Where possible, it pays to plan ahead. If you’re expecting a surge in orders, make sure you have the arrangements in place to deal with an influx and ensure you’re operating cost-effectively. Explore different options, get quotes and make sure you’re ready to offer new services. You don’t want to lose customers the first time they place an order because you can’t deliver on promises. 

Exploring funding streams and efficiency savings

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc on organizations and companies across almost every sector. With the future uncertain, it’s beneficial for business owners to explore funding streams, to keep a close eye on the books and to look into efficiency savings. Altering staffing structures, adapting to embrace and capitalize on new buying trends and automating processes can save time and money. When it comes to funding plans for growing your business and catering to an online market, businesses can consider personal investment through options like buying and selling stocks, trading share CFDs or selling real estate, external investment or borrowing. Weigh up the options open to you, compare the pros and cons and make sure you understand the risks or implications of borrowing, putting your money into an investment opportunity or giving away part of the business in return for a cash boost.

Saving on shipping

Many businesses that usually rely on in-store sales are exploring new opportunities. If you start accepting online orders, it’s hugely beneficial to look for ways to save on shipping. Consider different options, for example, free standard delivery or express services for a fee, and figure out how the costs add up and what works best for your business. Try to ensure that orders are packaged together to prevent delivering a series of separate items. You can outline order deadlines or time limits to ensure that customers have an accurate idea of when their goods will arrive, for example, offering next-day delivery on orders placed before 3 pm. It’s also essential to build strong relationships with the agents or companies you use to ship your products and to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Your performance and reputation could be affected by the delivery process. 

Online sales have soared in recent months, and many consumers are happier to place orders online than leaving the house. If you’re on a mission to balance the books, it’s crucial to employ cost-effective logistics strategies.  

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Logistics & Supply Chain

DHL Express global network expects 50% increase in volumes 

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DHL Express global network expects 50% increase in volumes. Image: DHL
DHL Express global network expects 50% increase in volumes. Image: DHL
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DHL Express, the world’s leading express service provider, expects unprecedented online shopping and shipping volumes during the upcoming peak season of 2020. With continued globalization and the Covid-19 pandemic driving consumers to shop online like never before, especially during upcoming mega shopping days such as ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Singles Day’, DHL Express is expecting an all-time high in e-commerce trade around the globe. Having already experienced around 35% e-commerce shipment volume growth in 2020, the upcoming peak season will further accelerate this and result in more than 50% higher shipment quantities compared to last year’s peak season.

“Over the years, we have seen consumers and even businesses shift their purchases online, but the pandemic has truly pushed the trend to leapfrog a few years ahead,” said Ken Lee, CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific. “At DHL Express, it is our mission to enable global trade and support our customers during the most important days of their business. The upcoming peak season will be challenging to the logistics industry, but we stand ready to make sure that our customers’ shipments are delivered as fast and as safely as possible. We are proud of the steadfast commitment of our employees and couriers who are out there to fulfil our mission of connecting people and improving their lives.”

DHL Express has taken numerous precautionary measures for over 100,000 employees operating in more than 220 countries and territories, such as providing face masks and disinfectants, and implementing social distancing and remote working where suitable. The company has also developed safe delivery procedures including removing the need for customers to sign for their shipments. These steps taken helped to secure business continuity for DHL, our customers and global trade.

DHL Express is prepared for significantly higher volumes and an earlier peak season start

It comes as no surprise that e-commerce numbers are rising given its growth trajectory in past years. However, the volume of shipments have grown tremendously higher than expected due to Covid-19. Numbers from the most important shopping occasions from earlier this year have already shown an increase in online e-commerce shipment volumes by at least 35%.

Facing such increasing volumes and Covid-19 spreading around the globe in parallel, the challenges for logistics providers are tremendous. In addition to the consistent observation of the situation and flexible management of precautionary measures to keep employees safe, the unprecedented peak of shipments poses an additional challenge for logistics. To be prepared, DHL Express has hired more than 10,000 new employees globally. Thanks to its annual investments in infrastructure such as hubs and gateways, aircraft, vehicles and state-of-the-art technology, the company was able to multiply the capacity of its operations significantly and therefore manage the upcoming volumes.

“In Asia Pacific, we are expecting this year’s peak season shipment volumes to be 30-40% larger than last year. While these are extraordinary numbers, our state-of-the-art facilities, dedicated aircraft fleet, and insanely customer centric employees are fully prepared to meet our customers’ requirements. DHL Express invests approximately EUR 1 billion annually to improve its infrastructure, network and people, so that we are prepared for these kinds of situations and to ensure that global trade continues even in the most challenging periods,” said Sean Wall, Executive Vice President, Network Operations & Aviation, DHL Express Asia Pacific.

To manage the demands of e-commerce shipping and also of highly important personal protective equipment and medical goods, a large number of additional cargo flights is necessary, as most commercial passenger aircraft are still on the ground. To counter this, DHL Express has increased the number of its daily flights significantly. This year alone, the company has already commissioned four new wide body aircraft of the model B777 F in its operations, and two more units are expected in the next month. These six additional aircraft enable the company to carry out more than 3,000 additional intercontinental flights per year.

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Logistics & Supply Chain

Covaxx and Maersk partners to distribute global Covid-19 vaccines

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Covaxx and Maersk partners to distribute global Covid-19 vaccines. Image: Unsplash
Covaxx and Maersk partners to distribute global Covid-19 vaccines. Image: Unsplash
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COVAXX, a U.S. company developing a multitope synthetic peptide-based vaccine to fight COVID-19, announced a global logistics partnership with Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping and integrated logistics providers. The agreement lays out a framework for all transportation and supply chain services that will be needed to deliver COVAXX’s vaccine candidate UB-612 around the world, once approved by regulatory authorities. Financial terms of the agreement are not disclosed.

COVAXX is developing UB-612 using a high precision, synthetic peptide platform to activate both B-cell and T-cell arms. The investigational vaccine is designed to mimic natural biology and preclinical studies have shown high immunogenicity and levels of neutralizing titers against SARS-CoV-2. The technology platform has been successful in commercializing blood diagnostics as well as safe and effective vaccines for infectious disease in animal health and has been tested in numerous clinical trials for other indications to date.

COVAXX is currently conducting Phase 1 clinical trials of UB-612 in Taiwan and has an agreement with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to conduct Phase 2 trials in the United States, upon regulatory approval. The company has advanced pre-commitments for over 100 million doses of UB-612 around the globe. In September, COVAXX announced an agreement with Dasa, the largest diagnostic medical company in Brazil to conduct a large-scale human efficacy clinical trial in Brazil.

The mission of COVAXX is to defeat COVID-19 and ultimately democratize health worldwide. Maersk will help fulfill this mission by overseeing all logistics activities to ensure efficient transportation to developing countries. The agreement provides for end-to-end supply chain management, packing and shipping, via air or ocean, ground transportation, warehouse storage and distribution to facilities to support COVAXX’s requirements for a pharmaceutical grade, temperature-controlled supply chain. COVAXX is planning to manufacture 100 million doses of UB-612 during early 2021, and a billion doses by the end of 2021. The design of the vaccine components will allow for the use of existing cold-chain storage and distribution channels, as the COVAXX vaccine does not require additional infrastructure such as -80⁰C freezers or liquid nitrogen tanks to store materials at extreme temperatures. “The COVAXX vaccine is unique in that it can be stored in the fridge you have at home, moved in the same trucks that deliver groceries and administered anywhere you can get a flu shot.” – Lou Reese Co-Chief Executive Officer of COVAXX.

“Our team, which now proudly includes Maersk, is committed to addressing the needs of countries where the greatest unmet needs exist today,” said Mei Mei Hu, co-Chief Executive Officer of COVAXX. “To do what is in the best interests of society at this time of the global health crisis, we are aligning with the strongest leaders in their respective industries to meet the large-scale demand and compliance requirements that we expect. It is not enough to focus on vaccine development and approvals. We must work in parallel to establish the infrastructure and partners with the strongest capabilities, like Maersk, to safely deliver our vaccine around the world.”

“Efficient and safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines around the world is the most urgent logistics challenge we face today. A. P. Moller – Maersk is committed to working closely with COVAXX to ensure smooth end-to-end global delivery of this vaccine as soon as it becomes available,” said Rob Townley, Head of Special Project Logistics at Maersk.

“Our specialized logistics expertise and the global infrastructure of Maersk make this a perfect match.”

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Air Freight

Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub

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Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates SkyCargo DWC cargo terminal re-opens as vaccine hub. Image: Emirates SkyCargo
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Emirates SkyCargo is stepping up its readiness to handle the logistical complexities of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally by creating the world’s first dedicated airside cargo hub for the vaccine in Dubai. The air cargo carrier is taking a global leadership position by announcing that it will be re-opening its Emirates SkyCentral DWC cargo terminal in Dubai South to serve as a dedicated anchor hub for cold chain storage and distribution of the vaccine.

The freight division of Emirates has also set up a dedicated rapid response team to coordinate requests from the various partners involved in the international vaccine distribution ecosystem and to streamline the carrier’s response to vaccine transportation requests.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Dubai is well positioned to serve as a gateway and distribution hub for COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world. We have the infrastructure and logistics connections, and a geographic location that puts markets representing more than two-thirds of the world’s population within an 8-hour flying radius. Over the years, through our continuous investment in capabilities and processes for the transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, Emirates SkyCargo has managed to position Dubai amongst major global pharmaceutical customers as the year-round preferred point of transit for their valuable cargo. Setting up a dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccines is a keystone project harnessing our network, reach and competencies to positively impact the lives of people around the world.”

World’s first dedicated airside hub for COVID-19 vaccine

Emirates SkyCargo’s vaccine hub in Dubai South will be the largest dedicated airside facility in the world for COVID-19 vaccines. The Dubai hub will allow the air cargo carrier to fly in vaccines from manufacturing sites globally, store and prepare shipments for regional and global distribution.

Emirates SkyCentral DWC has over 4,000 square metres of temperature controlled GDP certified dedicated pharma storage area allowing for large scale storage and distribution of the potential COVID-19 vaccines. Overall, it is estimated that the facility can hold around 10 million vials of vaccine at a 2-8 degrees Celsius temperature range at any one point of time.

The state of the art infrastructure at Emirates SkyCentral DWC is also complemented by one of the world’s largest fleet of Cool Dollys helping protect temperature sensitive cargo during transit between the aircraft and cargo terminal. Additionally, the availability of a large number of temperature controlled trucking docks and the proximity of the terminal to the aircraft parking gates will ensure rapid and efficient clearance of cargo for further distribution.

In addition to cold storage, Emirates SkyCargo will also offer dedicated zones for value-added services such as re-icing and repackaging of vaccines for global distribution for its customers.

The extensive size of the facility, which can potentially handle millions of vaccine doses, along with the creation of a dedicated team to handle and execute requests will allow Emirates SkyCargo to be able to effectively handle the large volume of time critical requests for cross-border vaccine movement that will follow the successful introduction of a vaccine.

Through a combination of scheduled and charter flights, the cargo carrier will then be able to fly the vaccines to markets where they will be most needed.

Emirates’ pharma transportation capabilities

Emirates SkyCargo is harnessing decades of experience gained from transporting temperature controlled pharmaceutical products and vaccines for global manufacturers to develop innovative solutions that will meet the challenge of distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine globally within a short timeframe.

Since 2016, the air cargo carrier has invested substantially in its capabilities for the transportation of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals. This included the introduction of a specialised product – Emirates Pharma – and the development of dedicated GDP certified ‘fit for purpose’ infrastructure pharma both at Dubai as well as at major origin and destination points under its pharma corridors programme that currently covers more than 30 cities. Emirates SkyCargo has moved more than a quarter million tonnes of pharmaceutical cargo in the last four years.

With its fleet of modern and efficient all wide-body aircraft and a network that currently spans more than 130 destinations across six continents, combined with the strategic geographic location of its Dubai hub, Emirates SkyCargo will be able to rapidly move vaccine shipments from manufacturing sites to the vaccine hub and then onwards to the rest of the world on a combination of scheduled and passenger flights.

Over the last few months, however, Emirates SkyCargo has worked on restoring its worldwide network and cargo connectivity with flight services restored to 75 destinations by May, 100 by July and nearly 135 destinations by early October. Emirates SkyCargo’s network covers all major pharmaceutical clusters and manufacturing locations, facilitating the eventual transportation of the COVID-19 vaccine once manufacturing commences.

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