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Day 1 Highlights

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More than 600 professionals from leading carriers, postal operators, 3PLs, retailers and technology providers gathered in Barcelona for the first day of Leaders in Logistics Summit, the flagship event for the global e-commerce, parcel delivery and postal ecosystem.

For Mike Richmond, VP of Sales at Blue Yonder, the future of this fast-changing and highly competitive industry will depend on best-in-class technology, inter-operability and AI. Best-in-class technology will increasingly be a hygiene factor but interoperability and AI will deliver what Blue Yonder calls ‘cognitive solutions’ to many of the bottlenecks and pain points in the first and last mile. Too often, however, fragmented ecosystems of data siloes and legacy systems mean ‘the plumbing behind the scenes can’t talk to each other’.

Generative AI, in particular, has huge potential to help optimise journey routes, pricing and customer experience. ‘You can feed it with data sets on population density, parcel deliverability data and crime statistics, and it will create models to help plan the locations of parcel lockers,’ he explained. ‘These technologies can unlock ‘exponential potential’ to improve efficiency and make supply chains phenomenally effective.’

As the industry continues to meet ever-growing customer expectations, orchestrate complex supply chains, invest in sustainability solutions and find ways to maintain margins, harnessing the power of generative AI will become more important than ever before.

“Interoperability and AI can unlock exponential potential”

Insurance Innovators Summit Panel

Digital investment will be key to managing these pressures, and that’s a huge undertaking for incumbent players. ‘Most large organisations are still making the transition from legacy systems to more cloud-native, digital interfaces and this is going to take the next five years,’ said Nabil Malouli, Senior Vice President, eCommerce & Returns Global at DHL Supply Chain.

For a player like DHL, this transformation must be tempered by the realities of a global footprint, with different countries having different systems, standards and expectations. ‘In some geographies it’s better to go with a local player who has a local solution that fits that market,’ he said.

Indeed, collaboration was a recurring theme for the first day. Alexander van Schie, Director of Group Strategy at PostNL, said his organisation would be sharing its automated parcel locker network with GLS Netherlands to meet consumer demand for more convenient collection solutions.

A number of speakers anticipate a wave of consolidation among last-mile players in order to deliver much-needed efficiencies across a highly competitive yet fragmented marketplace. ‘There are a lot of small start-ups now and there will inevitably be consolidation,’ said Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer of Royal Mail. ‘The price of a parcel has not changed in a decade and we’ve absorbed inflation and we can only do that by getting more efficient.’

He expects to see a split in consumer behaviours in the coming years, between those prepared to pay for an ‘instant gratification’ type service and those for whom low cost is paramount and will accept delayed delivery of a bundle of packages to get it.

Companies must also balance customer convenience with sustainability. Holger Winklbauer, Chief Executive Officer at International Post Corporation, cited a statistic that showed nearly three-quarters of consumers would pick re-usable packaging but only if the pickup was their doorstep. ‘They want sustainability but at minimum effort,’ he said.

Thiemo van Spellen, Group Global Accounts Managing Director at Geopost, agreed that consumer reluctance to pay for the sustainability they say they want means the responsibility for change lies with the companies. ‘Every part of the supply chain has to take responsibility,’ he said, welcoming the push from local authorities in some regions to force collaboration to reduce local congestion and pollution.

It was a fascinating and insightful start to the event, with much more in-depth discussion, lively debate and networking to come.

“Every part of the supply chain has to take responsibility”

There was certainly plenty for delegates to discuss as Day 1 ended and they headed for the always popular Leaders in Logistics after-party. Tune in tomorrow for more insights.
Insurance Innovators Networking
Insurance Innovators Summit Stage
Insurance Innovators Summit speaker on stage

Doddle helps carriers and posts around the world make ecommerce delivery and returns more efficient, customer-friendly and useful. Years of fulfilment experience in the world’s most advanced ecommerce markets gives us the expertise to help carriers create delivery and returns strategies that enhance customer experience, promote sustainable solutions and drive profitability and efficiency. Our white-label technology platform powers the creation, roll out and management of a full out-of-home delivery and returns ecosystem.

Acquired by Blue Yonder in 2023, each solution in the Doddle portfolio has been added to the global supply chain technology leader to offer a complete end-to-end returns management system (RMS) alongside its existing Order Management, Transport Management and Warehouse Management solutions.

Doddle’s expertise and technology is trusted by some of the worlds’ biggest retail and logistics businesses from ASOS and Amazon to USPS and Australia Post.​

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