foto bij zwarte gat in e-commerce

Het zwarte gat in e-commerce

Saskia van Pelt ging onlangs uitgebreid in op de vraag wat de luchtvrachtindustrie kan betekenen voor de logistiek rond de almaar uitdijende wereldwijde e-commerce. De e-commerce snakt naar nieuwe wegen om de consument te kunnen bedienen, efficiënter en mogelijk via andere vormen van transport. Saskia van Pelt is directeur Business development Cargo bij Schiphol Group Airfreight.

plaatje bij zwarte gat e-commerce
Saskia van Pelt, Schiphol Cargo Airfreight.

Many discussions about cross border e-Commerce have addressed the future of e-Commerce and its relationship to air cargo, but let me speculate about the following issue within cross-border e-Commerce logistics: how can the air cargo industry meet the needs of this industry?

e-Commerce is still growing

e-Commerce is hot. With online marketplaces sales growing annually with double digit numbers, the industry sees a rising need of more efficient and diverse ways of sending cross-border e-Commerce through the supply chain. Integrators are the fastest, but also the most expensive way of delivering packages. Getting your parcels to the other side of the world using postal services might be cheap, but may take up to a month to reach its destination.

Hybrid transport modes

A hybrid between these modes might be an answer, as we see more commercial parcel delivery services popping up, offering services that are faster than postal services and cheaper than integrators.
The challenges of this hybrid mode are twofold:
–      Parcels need to be Customs compliant
–      Track and traceability of parcels is not yet fully transparent in the regular air cargo supply chain.
This last issue, the (un)transparency of data, is what I like to call the ‘black box’; it’s about the unpredictability of the of the air cargo supply chain.

Transparency in supply chain needed

Let me explain with an example. I recently ordered a pair of shoes on one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. It took them 15 days to cross the world before a delivery guy rang my doorbell, delivering my order. As a consumer, I was provided regular information on the whereabouts of my order. I was satisfied. However, in the air cargo supply chain the whereabouts of the consolidation of all these parcels pops up regularly and then goes down under again. As my shoes travelled through the chain, every party that touched my parcel added a new bit of information. The issue here is that this information is not (always) shared throughout the chain; it’s only passed on to the next party, meaning that parties further along the supply chain cannot anticipate on what’s coming, and plan accordingly to better streamline the chain’s whole process and improve track and traceability.

Supply chain in today’s world

Let me show you. A standard supply chain looks something like this:
Online marketplace –> warehouse at origin–>truck –>airport at origin–> customs–> handler–> airline–> airport at destination–> customs–>handler–> truck–> warehouse at destination–> last mile delivery
In each stage information is generated. But not disclosed to the entire chain. For example, if the package is trucked to the airport at origin, the warehouse at destination would already like to know if the airline will actually ship the parcel that day. However, this information only gets generated once the parcel is already in the air and a pre-arrival declaration has been signed off, meaning that my parcel has fallen into a ‘black box’ and hereby losing many precious hours. In a business that thrives on reducing hours of delivery time, this unpredictability caused by a lack of data sharing, is a great pain. Due to this lack of transparency, or information sharing if you will, it’s very difficult for the industry to optimize the air cargo supply chain. So the challenge is: how do the different links in the chain disclose their data in such a way (a cloud?) that the entire chain will benefit from it and that they are able to obtain that specific piece of information at the exact moment they need it.
Do you recognize this black box?

Herkent u het zwarte gat in e-commerce?

Reageer hieronder of via de LinkedIn-pagina van Schiphol Cargo.