With the rapid expansion of e-commerce, it has become an international trend for consumers to engage in periodic promotions and shopping sprees. Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) as an example; the kick-off to the high shopping season that was once an exclusively American retail event has now become a global phenomenon. The BFCM weekend, along with other significant shopping days like Christmas and New Year’s, represents a substantial share of all consumer activity in the e-commerce and logistics sectors.
Contrary to popular belief, BCFM is not a stand-alone e-commerce event. While the weekend generates a huge spike in consumer activity, it is merely one of the many in a peak season that extends from the middle of September until mid-January. Given the company’s major share of the Chinese market, coupled with its increasingly global reach, YunExpress is uniquely positioned to handle the busy seasons across multiple cultural calendars and geographical locations.
A Closer Look at “Peak” Seasons With YunExpress
“There’s no peak season,” says Yu Chen, Head of Network Operation at YunExpress Europe, “because we are always ready.” YunExpress approaches every season and every day of the shopping year as an opportunity to deliver on its reputation for unrivalled service within the sector. Instead of damage control, they put measures in place to avoid disruptions before they even occur.
In 2021, there was a massive number of pallets and parcels approaching YunExpress’s warehouses across Europe. With dedicated staff, local suppliers and digitized operations, YunExpress has empowered the clients to tackle the challenges and satisfy the customers as always. Impressively, the company successfully transited nearly 500 tons of cargo a day, equivalent to over half a million daily parcel processing volumes on average all over Europe.
What Retailers Should Pay Attention to This Peak Season
Logistics Sector Challenges in the Post-Pandemic Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a transformative impact on the e-commerce sector, bringing new opportunities and challenges. In the past two years, the e-commerce sector experienced a massive boom because of the shift to the online shopping demand led by pandemics, especially in the peak season. As the dust begins to settle, the post-pandemic landscape is unknown territory, and e-commerce logistics companies must repeatedly assess the situation locally and globally and devote themselves to tackling the challenges accordingly.
Only 40% of all global freight shipments arrive on schedule at their destinations due to supply-chain disruptions and security breaches. This is no secret – but what has always been missing is the concrete analysis of the situation to troubleshoot effective solutions. So, just what are the specific issues that fall under the ‘supply chain disruption’ umbrella?
- Inventory Mismanagement: Logistics service providers must prioritize accurate, up-to-date information about inventory data and potential problems to avoid cancellations, returns, or negative customer reviews due to the mishandling of orders.
- Cargo Loss: No logistics company plans for cargo to be lost – but it does happen. The misplacement of shipments most often stems from holdups at customs or incorrect shipment labels, and the impact is always significant.
- Supply Mishaps: These can lead to a decrease in productivity, loss of customers, increased production cost, all of which ultimately affect revenue.
Common Pitfalls in E-Commerce Busy Season
The intricacies of a worldwide e-commerce event combined with rapidly increasing consumer demand mean logistics providers have their work cut out for them. Any service provider would be familiar with the most common customer complaints. In the past, these have included:
- Insufficient transportation capacity and airspace, as well as overloaded airlines and last-mile providers, thus resulting in rising costs.
- Poor logistical support, including insufficient manpower and a lack of available facility space and infrastructure.
- High load (meaning too many parcels to handle), leading to an increased incidence of error and lower operating efficiency.
- Siloed infrastructure leads to an excessive number of providers, increased delays and security issues.
Despite the difficult circumstances, YunExpress has performed admirably. “During the peak season around Black Friday and Christmas last year, we maintained an on-time delivery rate of 97%. Achieving this involves investing in infrastructure and careful planning to ensure smooth sailing during a window when the competition often tries to capitalize on quick wins – without the infrastructure to back them up,” remarked Chen.
The Secret(s) Behind YunExpress’ Success During the Peak Season
Solid Infrastructural Network and Facilities
YunExpress has gone the extra mile to develop a solid infrastructural network to support its global logistics operations. YunExpress operates its charter flights and aircraft to ensure timely transport is always within reach. The company has tendered partnerships with major airlines in every market it serves, including one of the market leaders, China Southern Cargo. In addition, processing centres of YunExpress are nestled within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of European logistics, combined with comprehensive, self-owned overseas distribution hubs and routes, from where the products can be easily transported to all around Europe.
Committed Team Players
Beyond hardware and facilities, YunExpress Europe is equipped with dedicated staff and local suppliers. YunExpress’ European network now comprises 21 (growing) local hubs, each of which is managed and operated by a local team of up to 100 employees. Moreover, the company has an extensive network of last-mile delivery providers that are backed by local know-how and trusted partnerships in dozens of countries throughout Europe.
Flexible Warehousing Solutions
During peak seasons, YunExpress ensures that additional warehouse space is available to account for increased traffic and that transfer hubs are in place to better cope with increases in parcel volume. Temporary contractors guarantee that teams are adequately staffed, and cutting-edge sorting equipment improves efficiency and helps prevent disruptions – to the tune of 20,000 packages sorted per hour. Last year, the company had 10,000 square meters of extra warehouse space earmarked for the busy peak season, and dozens of temporary employees contracted to work.
Ongoing Monitoring and In-Advance Planning
“We own every key point in the logistics process,” says Weile Zhao, Deputy Managing Director at YunExpress Europe. “This means we can provide assurance that smaller logistics companies without their local teams and warehouses simply can’t match. And uninterrupted service also means fiscal savings passed on to every YunExpress client.”
YunExpress has historically doubled sales for clients serving the Black Friday market, with increased growth continuing from year to year. Peak season analyses, warehouse redesigns and customized logistics solutions tailored to the needs of key-account customers mean that YunExpress client solutions remain unrivaled in the industry.
“We do long-term planning and forecasting in advance of the peak season to ensure better performance for our customers,” added Zhao. “We like to say that the end of the peak season each year is just the beginning of the rollout for next year’s planning.”
How YunExpress Is Leading the Charge in the Post-pandemic E-commerce Peak Season
In recent years, YunExpress has worked on the following four sectors to keep up the stability of performance during peak seasons.
Invest in Infrastructural Network
YunExpress is committed to developing its infrastructural network to support its operations in 30+ European countries, continuously optimizing its line-haul network design and investing in warehousing capability in essential markets. For instance, the company has adopted a self-developed Dynamic Route Modeling System, allowing it to reach the most efficient routes and commit to end-to-end delivery within 4-6 working days, even during peak seasons. This year, YunExpress Sweden has moved to a new logistics hub with 5,800 square meters and a daily processing capacity of 600 pallets to satisfy the increasing demand in the Nordic market.
Ensure Seamless Communication
From the beginning of collaboration, YunExpress helps its clients and partners accomplish API Integrations so that they can overview the overseas management system (OMS) featuring intelligent alerts and notifications, live tracking and transparent information themselves – all as part of an end-to-end process that’s both sophisticated and user-friendly. Thanks to its online IT service support, the company ensures the clients and partners get timely responses and quick solutions. As a result, this ensures decreased incidence of service interruption and allows for integrated systems already in place to mitigate interruptions when they occur.
Increase Tracking Visibility Across the Supply Chain
YunExpress introduces effective inventory coding and parcel tracking systems to quickly and efficiently track cargo – from the manufacturer to the consumer’s doorstep. Intelligent tracking methods (like advanced data) minimize risk by providing accurate and timely information. Meanwhile, doing this can reduce the loss of cargo, which becomes significantly essential in the peak season when mistakes occur more frequently.
Streamline Logistical Procedures
The standardization of logistics processes can better equip all e-commerce logistics providers and relevant players across the sector, increase efficiency, and strengthen partnerships.
For one thing, YunExpress requires Pre-loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) for all parcels before dispatch, which means both customs and providers receive accurate information on time. This can help prevent the common causes of disruptions – especially because shipments without PLACI can be flagged as suspicious, which further impacts delivery timelines.
For another, to tackle Brexit and new regulations regarding importation, YunExpress provides two customs clearance options complying with EU customs rules – Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) and Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) – depending on the business’s size, value, and nature, guaranteeing the global business against delays and interruptions.
Contact us to learn more about how our solutions support you during the peak shipping season!