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Last mile logistics sector outstrips e-commerce capacity

More than a hundred students and entrepreneurs participate in the V workshop of Logistics of the Chair business Volkswagen - University of Navarra

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02/12/20 11:59

"The last mile is not just about e-commerce", was undoubtedly one of the most important statements made at the V workshop Logistics organized by students of the School of Economics of the University of Navarra on partnership with the Chair of business Volkswagen Navarra-University of NavarraThe event was attended by about a hundred participants.

Moderated by Carlos Eslava, advisor independent of transport, logistics and distribution companies; university students and professionals from the sector were able to learn from the hand of the manager of the first distribution center outside Spain of group Inditex, José Luis Goñi; the partner of the operations, supply chain and technology consulting firm, Howdazz, Luis Perdiguero; and the director of Supply Chain in MERLIN Properties, José María Fernández, the challenges faced today by companies in the logistics sector, cities and infrastructures.

The distribution manager of group Inditex, José Luis Goñi, pointed out the immense development that can still be carried out in the "last mile" and explained the added value that can bring logistics activities in the classification of goods or waste collection. The businessman presented different proposals to improve deliveries from the online channel and avoid failed deliveries, pointing out that there are many possibilities to offer a better service to the final consumer and therefore the magnitude and potential development of the online channel.

Luis Perdiguero, partner of the consulting firm Howdazz, highlighted the impact of the last mile on environmental sustainability, urban congestion (from freight traffic) and the efficiency of logistics and associated costs for companies operating in large cities. Perdiguero highlighted the need for profitability for all "players", being necessary both a change in the perception of consumers about the free service and changes in infrastructure, implementation of new technologies and of course the intervention of public administrations. The businessman insisted that the problem must be addressed in a global and coordinated way so that different and new models such as urban hubs, fleet electrification, night distribution or deliveries by public transport are possible.

Lastly, José María Fernández, director supply chain at MERLIN Properties, expanded on the concept of "last mile" by reminding us that it also includes demand planning and procurement. He explained how the last mile has a lot to do with three main sectors: e-commerce, retail and FMCG. Fernandez made reference letter to the current consumer demands, derived from the status caused by the Covid-19 as the enormous acceleration of e-commerce and the "bullwhip effect", also known as "whip effect" in distribution channels. Faced with the current challenges, he presented different possibilities such as the use of parking lots as "last mile" centers, the conversion of sales areas into logistics spaces such as "dark stores" or collaborative models, urban hubs or a growing trend that is already occurring in cities such as Madrid, the location of logistics parking lots in suburban areas.