By Liu Jin
As "Double 11" is coming, all major logistics companies have been in a tensely preparation and mobilization condition. It has become an impending annual final exam of logistics industry to relieve the huge logistics pressure caused by online shopping peak, and big data, cloud storage and other new technologies have become the hot "powerful tools" of many logistics enterprises.
In recent years, the integration of logistics industry and Internet technology is deepened continuously thanks to the emergence of sharing economy, supply-side reform, consumption upgrade and other new ideas, and logistics, as an old industry, is undergoing profound changes. At the 2016 China Internet + Logistics Peak Forum held recently, participating experts and entrepreneurs all believed that it has become an irresistible trend for logistics industry to achieve development and innovation with internet.
Mobile Internet creating real-time logistics
The grand trend of mobile internet and O2O local life give rise to two demands for logistics: top speed and punctuality, thus determining the evolution of logistics service mode, i.e., from door to door and from door to the user without storage and transiting, and the above new logistics pattern is called "real-time logistics". The service categories of real-time logistics include take-out, fresh food, express end, supermarket, etc. Representative logistics enterprises are ele.me, yiguo.com, Cainiao, BL.COM, etc.
Take-out and other high frequency home logistics businesses promote the increase of market scale of domestic real-time delivery. In the second quarter of 2016, totally 448.5 million orders were signed in the domestic real-time delivery market, and the order quantity in the internet real-time delivery market was nearly 10 percent of that in the traditional logistics market. In detail, Fengniao Delivery of ele.me was the top one based on its 26.7 percent of shares, followed by New Dada (made of Dada and JD Delivery to Home) and Meituan Special Delivery based on 22.2 percent and 21.7 percent of shares respectively. Currently, all major logistics enterprises are expanding traffic entrances and strengthening their own capacity scheduling; the market scale of real-time delivery will be increased continuously and is expected to reach the peak in the next 3 years.
Since this year, under the influence of cost and efficiency factors, sales and logistics in the O2O field are being separated, many real-time delivery platforms including Fengniao of ele.me and New Dada have opened their APIs to allow the third party electric business platforms to make docking and purchase delivery services. With the rapid development of O2O, Chinese internet real-time delivery is marching towards sharing of logistics and socialized logistics. At the supply side, inventories relied on by real-time delivery are of great dispersibility and order demands are of great randomness, so with respect to the optimize allocation of resources and reduction of distribution costs, package delivery will certainly become the main load-bearing capacity provider for real-time delivery, while at the demand side, real-time delivery will try to serve for more O2O E-commerce vendors and even individuals instead of the current take-out scope.
Logistics becoming intelligent through big data
Logistics companies are making up-front prediction of consumption with big data technology actively so as to set "up-front warehouses" to improve efficiency of distribution greatly.
What is up-front warehouse? The "up-front" of up-front warehouse refers to time instead of distance; only warehouses where the goods you want are placed ahead of your consumption are called up-front warehouses. Without the prediction of big data, no matter how many branches are set in the city, they are just warehouses instead of up-front warehouses. Users' quick demands can only be met with up-front warehouses and the real-time logistics capacity at the terminal.
With the idea of up-front warehouse, ZJS Express introduced a new express mode -- cloud micro-warehouse -- to market in this June. Wang Yingji, SVP of ZJS Express, said, "We just introduce a new express mode to the express market in order to increase our speed."
Cloud micro-warehouse means to lay out goods to the place near each consumer based on the existing distribution sites of express company according to the analysis on big data. Once consumers place orders, ZJS Express can get goods from micro-warehouses to deliver to them in 2-3 hours. The big data thinking of the internet will be relied on in order to put goods to places near all consumers in advance.
It is also a typical example of intelligent logistics to improve the matching efficiency of vehicle and goods with mobile internet and big data.
Ymm56 is just such enterprise, which introduces artificial intelligence (AI) into logistics industry. The AI dispatching system created by ymm56 has improved the logistics efficiency to a new height thanks to the strong learning ability of machine.
Miao Tianye, president of ymm56, said ymm56 had changed the logistics industry in three aspects based on AI: firstly, it effectively reduced the empty rate of Chinese highway logistics and had reduced the empty rate of Chinese highway logistics by 10 percent in 2015; secondly, it built and perfected the credit system of logistics and had set the largest driver integrity database in Chinese main logistics market; thirdly, the transport capacity was more effectively used and in 2015, the monthly trip distance of drivers on the platform was improved from 9,000 kilometers to 11,000 kilometers.
Logistics tending to be finer and more intelligent
Recently, Deloitte launched the Annual Report on Chinese Logistics Investment and Promotion 2015-2016, providing a comprehensive analysis on the development of Chinese logistics industry in 2015-2016.
According to the Report, the high-speed growth of Chinese logistics industry came to an end after lasting for more than 10 years, the growth rate was reduced to 6 percent gradually and the logistics industry entered into a comprehensive transformation period. In this background, Chinese logistics industry will be finer and may be integrated further.
With the development of high-end manufacturing, expanding of production and circulation scale, continuous improvement of intensive degree as well as the flexible development of supply chain, the logistics efficiency of enterprises is facing higher requirements in the internet era, especially the great demands for fine logistics represented by cold-chain logistics, medicine logistics and automotive logistics.
The Report also showed that in the last ten years, Chinese express delivery industry has been expanded rapidly, businesses have achieved an annual compound growth of about 30 percent, and as express delivery industry enters into the mature period, it is predicted that more and more express delivery enterprises may be listed in the next two years. Besides, Chinese express delivery industry has the capacity of merger and acquisition; no matter the "win-win co-operation" among large enterprises or the "collaboration" among small ones or the strategic investment of related enterprises, all will promote the acquisition and reorganization of express delivery industry to lead the industry to be more concentrated with stronger resource integration capacity.