Lockdown spike in DIY activity: The logistics sector responds

The UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that in April this year, 30% of retail sales in the UK were conducted online.

This figure compares with just 18% in the same month last year and 21% at the Black Friday/Christmas peak in 2019. By the end of April online sales across Europe, within the home and leisure sector, in which Dachser DIY-Logistics covers, were at a level more than double than experienced at the start of last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and enforced lockdown has changed consumer buying behaviour dramatically and has accelerated the trend of growth in online shopping and the e-commerce economy. In fashion, home and leisure, sport and hobbies, the effect of online sales growth will become permanent once virus restrictions are lifted.

A recent global study by management consultants Accenture of previously infrequent e-commerce consumers found that their DIY tools and materials’ purchases jumped from 6% up to 14% during the crisis and are predicted to stabilise at a 16% level post-crisis. To whatever degree online becomes the chosen sales channel for Europe’s DIY product consumers in the future, it is clear retailers that have not positioned themselves for an e-commerce future will face particularly severe challenges. 

Dachser in the UK and across Europe has a DIY-Logistics service to help this particular sector overcome these challenges, providing individually tailored logistics services for customers in the garden and DIY sector. Established twenty-two years ago, Dachser DIY-Logistics currently has an annual shipment volume of 7.5 million. These figures indicate the significance of this sector-specific logistics solution. The service came under the control of Jens Wollmann earlier this year. He emphasises, “The demands placed on the DIY suppliers and retailers by consumers are changing dynamically, now more than ever. 

Those DIY suppliers and retailers that are embracing e-commerce sales are having to apply an omnichannel approach to inventory and order processing. This means using more efficient sourcing, warehouse management, transport and delivery tools, tracking both orders, stock and selecting the best distribution options for each shipment. Furthermore, speed and reliability become even more critical in their supply chain solutions.

Suppliers also experience other challenges brought about by the characteristics of an online market place. This can include irregular demand spikes, requiring sudden changes in supply capacity. These unpredictable order sizes can make managing the distribution difficult, for instance, direct delivery, holding inventory in intermediary hubs, last-mile delivery, proof of receipt and handling product returns.

As a consequence, Dachser is focusing on a range of tailored eLogistics services to adapt to the continuing digitalisation of its customers’ order processes and supply chains.”

This provides access to all relevant data concerning customer shipments, and this system has a direct connection with Dachser’s transport and warehouse management systems. eLogistics provides quick and easy information about all processes along the supply chain. There are numerous functions available for handling, control and transparency. Crucially in circumstances where online sales demands are immediate and fluctuating, there is the ability to track in-depth process sequences both in transit and in the warehouse when necessary.  

Maximum transparency of the product supply chain, with whatever variations in routing, volumes, delivery criteria and unexpected disruptions that may occur, is vital in a DIY supplier's competitive advantage within the future of the online sales.

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