What is e-Logistics?

What is e-Logistics?

What is e-Logistics? 

This article is translated from Dutch and was first published on Logistiek.nl

Getting the ball rolling on e-logistics directly corresponds to coping with entirely new, arising logistics challenges. But what does e-logistics actually mean to organisations? Speed and satisfaction are central in the world of e-logistics. Today’s modern customer is evermore fickle, making better collaboration and quick action an absolute necessity. What will be required to gain sufficient control of the supply chain?

E-Logistics is still a relatively novel concept. Those that have yet to get started have at least expressed interest. Often referred to as e-fulfilment, e-logistics is the logistical process that governs everything related to the online marketplace.

E-Logistics is underestimated

Freshly launched web shops are not alone in underestimating the importance of e-Logistics. Even the bigger companies, for which e-commerce is seen as an interesting additional sales outlet, still occasionally choke when it comes to coordinating the logistical processes behind online sales. On the flipside, e-logistics can also have consequences for the company, for instance for the establishment of processes, the control system, the personnel, and the organisation.

Key elements of e-logistics that entrepreneurs should take into consideration include: multi-channel operations, cross-border functionality, warehouse layout and inventory, last mile and reverse logistics, planning and forecasting, and performance measurement.

Supply chain cooperation

There are a few distinct logistical challenges facing today’s entrepreneurs. One of these is effective collaboration between partners along the value chain. Clear information about current inventory is good, and the same is true for re-shipments. But perhaps even more important than both, is the need for exact data. This is necessary not just for replenishment, but also for communicating exact delivery times. The only effective way to serve the modern customer is through seamless behind-the-scenes integration of internal and external applications. For this, data synchronisation capabilities are indispensible.

Last-mile and returns

How should last-mile issues and return shipments be addressed? Indeed, these are two of the most difficult areas to deal with. Issues related to last-mile include time frames, costs, and sustainability. There are already a few logistics methods that have been developed for coping with last mile. Profitability sometimes takes a hit from return shipments, but also present an opportunity for the web shop to improve its own image. Thanks to modern, intelligent applications, it is now possible to effectively take care of returns in no time.

Success factors in e-Logistics

Success in e-logistics is entirely dependent on the focus chosen for a web shop. If the main goal is rapid growth, than profitability will take a backseat. Collaboration is, by definition, a factor for success. The same can be said for ensuring transparent communications with customers about delivery and returns.

Measuring performance in e-Logistics

Successful merchants must stay sharp and continue to challenge themselves. Performance measurement should be considered a basis for all processes. Automating as many processes as possible is equally as important, as this frees up more time that can be invested in better serving customers.

Lecture Series • E-Logistics

Nyenrode Business University is organising a E-Logistics Seminar Series geared toward entrepreneurs with web shop-logistics ambitions, as well as logistics companies that wish to improve their approach to e-logistics.