In my opinion: Honious on e-Commerce growth

Mike Honious, president & CEO of GEODIS in Americas

Lockdowns across the world have spurred on e-Commerce global operations. ACW caught up with Mike Honious, president & CEO, GEODIS in Americas to find out GEODIS is stepping up to cater for demand.

ACW: E-Commerce has grown considerably in the past year, how has GEODIS optimised supply chains to deal with this surge?

Mike Honious: In the US, we saw the pandemic affect small parcel shipping as consumers increasingly turned to e-Commerce for virtually any and all needs. This put intense stress on the current infrastructure of delivery networks as an unprecedented amount of goods were shipped—all while consumers were demanding faster delivery times.

GEODIS optimised supply chains to help deal with this surge through our small parcel capabilities. In the US, because of our expansive network with global small parcel providers, we were able to leverage those many relationships to best address the changes in e-Commerce demand on behalf of our clients. The pandemic created an eye-opening experience for the supply chain in the back half of 2020 that showed just how valuable it is to have this network of small parcel providers in a way we had never really seen before.

ACW: How do you predict supply chains will evolve as e-Commerce continues to increase? 

MH: Looking ahead, we will continue to see more efficiencies in e-Commerce that lead to even faster delivery times. Simply put, when volume goes up, it provides more opportunity to identify and incorporate efficiencies. The acceleration of e-Commerce presented a shock to our industry’s system in many ways last year, and this year will be dedicated to optimisation.

Going hand-in-hand with that, our supply chains will continue to evolve as we place products closer to the end consumer and make strategic moves on how to best consolidate orders. For air cargo specifically, I believe we’ll see a trend toward utilising smaller ports to avoid the current backlogs we’re experiencing at the larger ones. We will also continue to see an emphasis on innovative warehouse management systems to increase the speed of delivery to the end consumer. For example, this includes new goods-to-person technology using robotics (which also helps with the on-going labour crisis) and advanced IT solutions that guarantee real-time visibility across all channels for better inventory management.

Looking at air cargo, we’re going to see the increase in e-Commerce impact the amount of control we have over our air networks. While previously the trend was more focused on block space agreements, we now have the opportunity to strategically control flight patterns ourselves to best deal with freight volume increases. For example, we just expanded our AirDirect services by adding a weekly flight from Shanghai to Guadalajara.

We believe it’s important to be a freight partner who has control over the transport service network to provide seamless shipments for our customers, and this expansion further shows that commitment.