Logistics service providers are bracing for two of the year’s largest e-commerce peaks in coming weeks, as Singles' Day on November 11 marks China’s biggest shopping day and Black Friday on November 24 is the western hemisphere’s peak.
Those dates will keep logistics companies busy fulfilling the surge of e-commerce and online orders, according to Andre Lehnen, global business development manager e-commerce at DB Schenker, the German third party logistics provider (3PL).
DB Schenker runs over 30 e-commerce warehouses worldwide, handling logistics for manufacturers that produce goods ranging from clothing and sports goods to technical household appliances, computers, tablets, and cell phones. During Black Friday and Singles' Day, the increase in sales varies significantly from customer to customer, but can be 40 to 50% higher than in other months.
"For us and our customers, it is very important to be prepared in advance. We will be planning for these events probably three or four months ahead of time. We make sure that we have enough stock and inventory, as well as enough people to fulfill all the orders that come in. It is not unusual for us to work day and night during these events,” Lehnen said in a release.
One way that DB Schenker plans to handle the increased load is through technology. "As we become a product-led organization, we are constantly innovating our products. This means that we have highly automated e-commerce warehouses with robots, for example, but also digital and data-driven supply chain solutions to respond to both our customers' demands and market trends,” Lehnen said.
For example, the company says it has implemented AutoStore, an automated goods-to-person system, to improve logistics for MQ Marqet, a premium fashion retailer in Sweden. The automated online order fulfillment and returns handling solution operates at a facility in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Another strategy the company uses is to control climbing costs through sustainable returns. “With circular economy products, we encourage our customers to refurbish and resell instead of disposing of them. Given the rising costs and production bottlenecks we are currently experiencing, it is even more important to find ways to reuse products. We see customers becoming more willing to buy second-hand products these days,” said Lehnen.