Discussion Papers

No. 433: The effects of digitisation on delivery logistics. 

Autoren: Christian M. Bender, Annette Hillebrand

(full version only available in German)


The dynamic growth in electronic commerce has brought considerable changes for the traditional goods and services markets for several years. Often, in terms of digitization and intelligent networking in delivery logistics, it is striking to read a "logistics revolution". New business models using a "sharing economy" and the increasing integration of logistics into the value chains of the shippers lead to concerns that disruptive change in markets can occur where the business models of established providers in the postal and logistics markets will be marginalized in the future by expanding business activities of large online retailer and the emergence of new market participants. Against this background, WIK studied the main impacts of digitization and increasing online trading on the processes, business models and the value chains in postal delivery logistics. 

With the growth in e-commerce, senders’ and recipients’ demands for flexibility and quality of delivery increase, which leads to an increasing complexity in the delivery logistics. At the same time, digization allows for innovations and yields increasing productivity. Through the use of new technologies, the quality of delivery has been increasing for several years. The routing times and offered services of today's deferred parcels correspond largely to those which were previously only available with much more expensive express shipments. The increasing relevance of data flows enables new services to be built on the existing value chain. New providers create interfaces that enable and simplify interoperability between different shippers and CEP carriers. In addition, new delivery options are being tested in market in addition to traditional door delivery. 

Our analysis and discussion shows that no major disruptive developments are to be expected. Rather, a transformation is taking place, in which the established CEP business models continue to develop, in response to cahnges in demand and technology. As a result, the transformation of separate stages of the value chain for physical transport calls for high investments (for example, in real estate) which take time to implement.

The changes in retail trade which are triggered by e-commerce offer great potential for growth in the CEP sector.In addition to the large parcel service providers, smaller companies can benefit from this trend. Successful approaches and business models of new providers are being adapted by established CEP service providers. The entry of new players does not drive out existing service providers, but leads to enhanced service offers in the market and ultimately to a competitive development of delivery logistics.

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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