DHL’s flexible network levels the e-commerce playing field for small retailers

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In response to the e-commerce boom brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and customers’ expectations of next-day delivery, DHL Supply Chain – part of Deutsche Post DHL Group – is offering online retailers access to its European network of 30 DHL e-fulfillment centers. These strategically located sites, in close proximity to major urban centers and parcel hubs, offer specialization in processing, picking, packing and shipping online orders that enable retailers to meet their customers’ demands.

“Typically, small and medium-sized shops lack the capacity to be present in each European country, which keeps them distanced from consumers and markets. Even larger retailers find maintaining that kind of presence is often financially heavy from a cash flow perspective or not cost-effective. In response, we are now offering vendors and online shops a multi-user network solution,” explained Hendrik Venter, CEO DHL Supply Chain MLEMEA.

“This gives customers access to all of our established services in a way that is flexible and tailored to their needs. We can support customers across the entire supply chain – from inbound handling and storage, pick and pack, last-mile delivery as well as returns handling. Customers particularly appreciate how we can scale-up this flexibly according to actual order volumes, as well as nationally and internationally.”

In light of Brexit, DHL notes the new offering has become even more relevant for UK and EU companies alike. “We understand the needs of our customers, and the demand of their end-consumers, and they require a seamless e-comm fulfillment solution with or without Brexit and that is our aim,” observed José Nava, CEO DHL Supply Chain UK & Ireland.

“With the challenges of Brexit and the global impact of Covid-19, our customers are keen to make their supply chains more resilient, but at the same time more flexible and able to respond to volume fluctuations and potential barriers in global trade lanes. This also applies to businesses in the EU that want to serve their customers in the UK in the most efficient way.

“Reducing dependency on individual markets and geographies and having multiple stock points in different countries has been accelerated by the pandemic, and that’s here to stay. Proximity to the market and having a scalable network solution will bring huge benefits.”

By pooling multiple customers in centrally located, multi-user facilities, retailers and organizations adopting a direct-to-consumer sales strategy can benefit from the European network. “We have found DHL’s European Fulfillment Network to be an ideal fit for us as we started e-commerce business to end customers in Germany and aim to rapidly scale into several European markets using this product,” remarked Manav Bhandari , CEO of retailer Jamoona.

According to DHL, customers can tailor the scope of service modularly by region and/or country depending on their needs and, thanks to short implementation lead times, can scale to match order volumes. The key to this, notes DHL, is regional presence in all major European markets, including the UK. The company claims that a well-distributed network model can have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. DHL gives the example that one customer using the model improved its cost to serve across Europe by 30%, mainly thanks to shipping on domestic shipping rates rather than international ones.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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