‘Logistic Natives’ joint event of Ecommerce Europe and Händlerbund: a success!

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Händlerbund and Ecommerce Europe joined their forces in the context of the 6th meeting of the “Logistic Natives”. In this occasion, Händlerbund’s Working Group and Ecommerce Europe’s e-Logistics Working Group merged for the first time and gathered many logistic experts in Birmingham for a 2-day program focusing on the developments and challenges in the parcel delivery sector in relation with e-commerce.

Site visit at Bradshaw Taylor

On Monday 20 February, the Logistic Natives visited Bradshaw Taylor for a guided tour of their facilities in Oakham, UK. Bradshaw Taylor Ltd. is a specialist distributor and agent for a number of outdoor, country, ski and travel clothing brands and is selling both online and offline. During the site visit, Bradshaw Taylor confirmed to participants that, as many other businesses in the same situation selling both online and offline, a lack or minimal level of harmonization of EU rules is indeed a barrier when selling cross-border in Europe. That is why Ecommerce Europe is strongly advocating for more harmonization at EU level, as differing legal frameworks are one of the top-3 barriers to cross-border online sales, according to Ecommerce Europe’s Cross-border Barometer 2016.

Logistic Natives session kicked-off at One World Express

One World Express hosted the second day of the event. On Tuesday 21 February, Bernd Kratz, Chairman of the Logistic Natives, welcomed the participants at the premises of the headquarter of One World Express, a private owned global logistics, e-commerce and IT solutions provider. In his opening speech, Mr. Kratz highlighted that the current focus is now finding innovative solutions to respond to the growing demands of e-commerce. He specifically stressed that cross-border e-commerce is the future, but more can and needs to be done to solve remaining logistic issues when sending a parcel from a country to another one. Consumers and customers are both asking for a high-quality logistic service and good tariffs. Therefore, remaining issues like re-labeling, unreliable track-and-trace services, unreal time of delivery to the end-consumer need to be addressed. Ecommerce Europe, together with its members, such as Händlerbund, are working to shape this market. After another presentation on SMEs’ struggles in relation with logistics costs, made by Paul Edwick – CEO of LucyLocket and company member of Ecommerce Europe – the group visited the facilities of One World Express and had the opportunity to see how e-commerce orders are handled from a logistic provider’s perspective.

Political report from the EU and globally

The Vice-Chair of the e-Logistics Working Committee of Ecommerce Europe, Mr. Walter Trezek, presented what Ecommerce Europe, with the support of Händlerbund and other members, is currently doing to innovate the parcel delivery market. A couple of years ago, Ecommerce Europe decided to change strategy from identifying challenges to being actively involvement in shaping the parcel delivery market. Indeed, Ecommerce Europe is the only European association directly active in CEN (the European Committee for Standardisation) and in the UPU (the UN’s Universal Postal Union) with Mr. Trezek as Chair of its Consultative Committee.

Focus on more harmonization

Mr. Trezek explained the work done by Ecommerce Europe in developing label standards for parcels. In particular, e-commerce associations, courier, express and postal services in Europe came together to bridge between proprietary specifications and non-for-profit solutions, already used by the wider European e-commerce community for supply chain management, to standardize delivery chain management. This way all (including the designated operators represented by the UPU) can use the same harmonized standard CEN label. Mr. Trezek explained also that more harmonization will lead to integrated delivery management. In fact, what Ecommerce Europe is developing is an open and transparent “license plate” (harmonised item ID). Thanks to this license plate, the item and content are married and the authorities, such as customs, can have access to the relevant data that the label is carrying. Recipients can scan license plates, get full information on the content (interaction sender & recipient) & customer related rights can be initiated (warranty and liability). The label is based on barcodes, but is in fact a new type of barcode that will transform the old analog parcel into a digital and interconnected one.

Global update: UPU Congress

Walter Trezek, before being officially appointed as Chair of the Consultative Committee of the UPU, attended the 26th UPU Congress in October 2016 in Istanbul and informed the participants at the Logistic Natives event in Birmingham about the way ahead of the UPU, including the changes in the constitution and the regulations, which led to a general definition of “postal items” and a distinction by content. In other words, the UPU will change from a silo-based postal system (letters 0 – 2 KG; parcels 0 – 30 KG) to a postal item-based system, with a clear distinction based on content (documents vs. goods).

Closing and future meetings of the Logistic Natives

Overall, participants found it very useful to attend the Logistic Natives session, also given the fact that the level and quality of information provided was solid and relevant for all of them, in particular thanks to all the active roles undertaken by Ecommerce Europe and its members in shaping the future of the parcel delivery market. Händlerbund and Ecommerce Europe expressed their intention to organize another Logistic Natives event, most probably next year. In the meantime, Ecommerce Europe will organize a Round Table in the coming months and will invite all the relevant actors from the logistic world to inform them about what the association is currently doing to further innovate the parcel delivery market in Europe and have fruitful exchange of views on the way ahead.

Participants who would like to receive a copy of Mr. Trezek’s presentation can write an e-mail to lucacassetti@ecommerce-europe.eu.

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