The societal shift from ownership to the sharing of goods, assets, or services through digital platforms has been one of the most groundbreaking trends in recent years. Logistics providers can both facilitate and participate in these networks through workforce allocation, transport utilization, and on-demand warehousing and fulfillment to achieve new levels of efficiency and value creation.
Key Developments & Implications
The recession in 2009 bolstered the ideological impetus to use technology in building an economy in which consumption would be more social, frugal, and sustainable. What began as a way for owners of assets, such as cars or homes, to earn supplemental income by sharing and renting continues today as a viable and increasingly acceptable business model for both consumers and corporations. The most successful platforms were essentially marketplaces that effectively matched supply and demand for their users. As they mature, these successful players often develop into more traditional asset-heavy companies.
This honing and refining has led the sector to disrupt industries like transportation, hospitality, freelance, and, to some extent, logistics in what is becoming an progressively mature market. The success of shared and on-demand passenger transport has attracted existing companies to expand their focus and adapt their models and tools for freight transport. At the same time, originally pure play digital freight marketplaces that match shippers and carriers are increasingly investing into warehouses to gain more control of supply chain networks.
Moreover, the logistics industry is not just impacted by the sharing economy directly, but also implicitly through the trend’s intersection with other industries. For the logistics industry, the sharing economy business model has the highest relevance in rethinking three key segments: logistics transportation, fulfillment, and labor models.
On-demand warehousing & fulfillment has grown significantly, fueled by the global e-commerce boom and primarily smaller merchants looking for flexible warehousing and fulfillment options. With regard to fulfillment, several companies have developed a network of discreet fulfillment warehouses ranging from urban micro distribution centers to more traditional centralized warehouses with shared inventory offering third party fulfilment services.
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
Global Head of DHL Trend Research
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.