Editor's Comment

Editorial: eDelivery launches 2018 survey as industry seeks innovation ROI

Today eDelivery launches its end-of-year reader survey, which aims to put a spotlight on the biggest trends shaping retail logistics.

Against the backdrop of a struggling high street, an uncertain international landscape and more demanding consumers, logistics is a potential area to differentiate on. Readers are invited to weigh in on their investment plans, business priorities for 2019 and the biggest obstacles facing the industry.

The importance of logistics is particularly illustrated by the ongoing peak period, with our analysis piece this week looking at how far Amazon’s unconditional free delivery week will disrupt rivals. Other opinion pieces this week focus on how to optimise logistics during the busy season and the advantages of dropshipping.

But peak is just a short part of the year and the industry needs to find areas to put money in the longer term. With so many technologies being hailed as transformative, it can be hard to find the sweet spot of a project that will future-proof the business but also offer an immediate ROI.

The dilemmas of finding a focus for investment are thrown into sharp relief by a Capgemini study, which reveals that logistics and supply chain departments are taking on too many projects and failing to put in place proper procedures to evaluate success and aims to zero in on some of the most productive areas.

Unsurprisingly, then, logistics companies such as Parcelforce and Whistl are investing in the safe and familiar: more advanced distribution centres and acquisitions of companies with proven capabilities. Royal Mail has opted for the relatively safe but often overlooked area of investing in staff, with a new University of Warwick apprenticeship programme providing staff with training in a range of areas.

It bodes well that the industry is investing for its future – the next step is gaining a clear idea of what to focus on.