The societal shift from ownership to asset sharing has been one of the most groundbreaking trends in recent years. Everything from underutilized parking spaces to heavy industrial equipment can now be shared via digital platforms. Logistics providers can help facilitate these networks and can also participate in sharing platforms to fully utilize logistics networks and assets, achieving new levels of efficiency and value creation.
Key Developments & Implications
Since 2008, digital marketplaces that own merely the mobile user interface between demand and supply (e.g., Airbnb, Uber) are continuing to change the way people consume products and services. Given the abundance of idle assets, infrastructure, and knowledge, the ‘new normal’ for the logistics industry will be sharing instead of owning. In fact, inroads into logistics are already being made: 41% of US consumers have used sharing economy offerings of same-day, expedited, or on-demand delivery services. Looking ahead, solving issues of risk liability, insurance, transparency, and workforce protection will be critical to ensuring the long-term success of key sharing economy logistics models.
Urban sharing economy networks can be facilitated by logistics providers to grow overall demand for their services. For example, peer-to-peer goods sharing platforms can enroll logistics service providers for pick-up, handling, delivery, and returns. Logistics providers can also leverage on-demand delivery networks in cities (e.g., Postmates, Lyft) to augment first- and last-mile coverage and services in more cost-efficient ways.
Transport capacity sharing via digital platforms enables real-time data flow and communication between shippers and carriers, and thus provides seamless matching of loads with available capacity. Particularly in the road freight industry, this can reduce idle time from traffic delays, loading operations, communication lag, and process inefficiencies around quoting, pricing agreement, shipment tracking, and payment collection. Further benefits may be achieved through ‘co-opetition’ between competitors that have similar supply chain requirements.
B2B and B2C sharing of resources, logistics assets, and infrastructure can increase capacity utilization while reducing costs and the logistics carbon footprint. Logistics providers can participate and share their own underutilized assets such as delivery vehicles and forklifts as well as warehousing space with an on-demand approach. Logistics providers can also leverage an on-demand workforce (e.g., Wonolo) to hire temporary labor covering seasonal peaks in demand.
Questions answered in this report:
- What is the Sharing Economy?
- What best practices from other industries can be applied to logistics organizations?
- What new business opportunities can the Sharing Economy create for your organization?
Talk to an Expert
Senior Innovation Manager, Trend Research
DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation
Ben Gesing is a global innovation leader with 7+ years of experience developing technical solutions in the logistics, telecommunications, and consumer electronics industry. Today he leads the Trend Research activities at the DHL Innovation Center near Bonn, Germany. He and his team are responsible for shaping the overall innovation agenda at Deutsche Post DHL Group through producing industry trend reports and piloting cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics in live logistics operations together with startups.