Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

UPS: omnichannel means logistics firms must become networks

William Payne
October 21, 2015

Speaking at the Third Party Logistics (3PL) Summit event in Venio, the Netherlands, contract logistics VP Boris Dobberstein at UPS has urged logistics companies to become networks.

At the same event, the chief operating officer of Quintiq said that the Internet of Things was rapidly making conventional, proprietary approaches to logistics impossible.

Dobberstein argued that web commerce is turning markets into networks. The only way that logistics companies can address the new demands of an omnichannel market is by turning themselves into networks. As a result of this, the number of partners, and the complexity, of the supply chain is likely to increase.

This is only part of the solution, according to Dobberstein. Profitability would still remain an issue in e-commerce driven operations, even after addressing the logistical challenges created by omnichannel retailing.

Dobberstein’s comments on the need to form logistics networks found agreement with Arjen Heeres, the chief operating officer of supply chain optimiser Quintiq. He also argued that conventional logistics industry practices of operating behind a cloak of secrecy was no longer sustainable with the rise of the Internet of Things. Heeres argued that the Internet of Things now means that all logistics operations will have to become increasingly transparent.

CH Robinson’s European president of operations, Jeroen Eijsink argued that new technology such as the Internet of Things provided an opportunity to create more added value in the supply chain, and to move away from a potentially damaging focus on lowering price as a means of remaining competitive.