Fighting Fragmentation in supply chain logistics

James Appleby

Technology is changing every aspect of supply chain logistics and as global supply chains expand and become more complex, true collaboration is becoming essential, and a bigger challenge. The traditional market and way of doing things has been disrupted by a new breed of tech-savvy businesses who are offering a surge of disjointed technology-driven platforms, programmes and ideas. Without cohesion between these solutions, or a place where supply managers can access all the tools they need, it results in fragmentation in the industry.

Our MD, James Appleby, provides some answers on how we, as an industry, can fight fragmentation.

Digitalisation, friend or foe?

The digital transformation of the logistics sector offers many benefits. One that should not be overlooked is the opportunity to bring solutions together and thus, reduce inefficiencies. Digitalising the supply chain means establishing end-to-end processes that connect suppliers and customers on a transparent and accessible platform.

Holistic digital solutions, such as DG International’s Horizon platform, offer a single point of contact, real-time data connections, increased efficiencies, streamlined operations and importantly, complete visibility over the entire supply chain. The technology also enables an easier and streamlined online collaboration process, and the establishment of a ‘logistics community’, where third party tools and services are integrated to provide a better service overall. As an example, we are currently working with VKVP Haulage to integrate its final-mile tracking service into Horizon. This connected approach enables businesses to overcome new market challenges and take advantage of valuable opportunities as they arise.

Shared assets, services and expertise

There are many ways for logistics companies to use assets more efficiently through collaboration. For example, sharing fleets, networks, warehousing and by having an open data policy, or establishing agreements where tools and insights are shared with mutual and industry-wide benefits.

Our recent partnership with USPS means that DG International now offers a direct, reliable and affordable 6-10 tracked shipping service into the United States, which is a crucial market for many of our customers and will help us grow our services. The relationship allows us to be listed as a GDE Wholesaler on the USPS website, bolstering the quality of wholesalers USPS offers to UK customers, many of which may prefer to ‘support local’ by using a UK-based logistics company.

Another example is that Yodel can now offer UK retailers a streamlined global outbound service thanks to partnering with DG International. By sharing capabilities, the Yodel international offering uses our range of flexible global logistics solutions, including road and air freight, sortation and international customs expertise.

Open data sharing: a vital weapon

In the 1980s, Walmart and Procter & Gamble (P&G) pioneered supply chain collaboration through data sharing. It was a great success which increased their profits by $50 million in the first eight months. Data sharing is becoming another important driver for efficiency, simplification and collaboration in the fight against fragmentation. Data should flow seamlessly through supply chains, but this is only possible if all stakeholders are able to connect through trusted cloud-based management systems.

A less fragmented, open industry will help optimise operational processes in supply chain logistics.