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The global logistics industry has risen to the challenges of COVID-19, protecting staff and customers while flexing to the peaks and troughs in demand. It has been catapulted into the future by three years. Shipment volumes projected for 2026 now look likely by 20238. But now every aspect of delivery operation needs to be optimized around cost and the need for safety and sustainability.

In fact, across every part of the logistics landscape, companies have realized they need to optimize their operations, with data and technologies as critical enablers.

Logistics companies have become effective at communicating to customers about the precise time of arrival and options to change delivery arrangements. But there is more that can and needs to be done to optimize routes using data.

COVID-19 has accelerated digitization, driven the consolidation of the logistics and retail markets and fostered new hybrid online/offline retail business models. COVID-19 will likely also be a catalyst for contactless, unattended and autonomous delivery technologies, putting added pressure on cities.

COVID-19 is generating short- term disruptions and longer-term structural changes, with e-commerce experiencing soaring growth in new online categories like groceries and home care. 80 percent of customers new to purchasing on the internet, intend to continue using that channel9.

Logistics companies who have pivoted their businesses to deal with the structural changes associated with COVID-19 now face some longer term strategic questions:

  • How does our delivery ecosystem, particularly the last mile, need to balance increasing demand and environmental concerns?

  • What does this mean for the supply chain and technology interventions we need to make and their potential impact on emissions, congestion, and delivery cost?

  • What are the COVID-19 implications for vehicle change (EV) and contactless delivery?

  • Cities will face increased congestion and backlogs due to even more delivery vehicles. Customers are turning to private vehicles rather than public transport to commute and while this will be partially offset by working from home, what does this mean in terms of delivery schedules and congestion?

  • What role will autonomous vehicles or robots play in our delivery portfolio?

The changes in customer buying habits are here to stay. The response of the logistics industry needs to balance the potentially conflicting needs of different stakeholders. Logistics providers have stepped up to the challenge of making deliveries safer for employees and customers. Contactless last mile delivery solutions have been crucial to the industry's COVID-19 response. However, safety and sustainability will be the critical business drivers for the industry, especially given the urgency of environmental challenge.

For more information, download the full sector PDF

Across every part of the logistics landscape, companies have realized they need to optimize their operations, with data and technologies as critical enablers — gaining greater visibility across the supply chain."

Steffen Wagner
Global Head, Transport & Leisure
KPMG International

Logistics hall of fame

An Post

Ireland

Budbee

Sweden

DHL

Vietnam

DHL

UAE

DHL

Brazil

Fedex

UAE

InPost

Poland

PPL

Czech Republic

Zásielkovnˇa

Slovakia

Zásilkovna

Czech Republic

Sector hall of fame based on brands' Customer Experience Excellence performance relative to their market, according to consumers in the market specified.

8 https://atos.net/en/blog/logistics-challenges-and-opportunities-in-the-post-covid-19-world
9 KPMG International Research Jun 2020