We look to the most significant shopping period of the year and the impacts on e-commerce and supply chains. Singles Day has already kicked off, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas still to come. How does this impact the key players within the logistics industry? How can one stay relevant during these ever-changing times?

Logistics Matters met with Johan Carlberg, VP for Global BU E-commerce, at DB Schenker. Johan talks about the future of E-Commerce for larger logistics providers and how to stay ahead of the curve. B2C-focused vertical markets are increasing their e-commerce and omnichannel share. These changes require large logistics service providers to avoid losing existing business to e-commerce players. 

Let’s find out more in the interview below.

Connecting different supply chain streams brings the value proposition to the customer through one single point of supply chain contact. An End-to-End solution offering a competitive advantage to any customer is what we, as DB Schenker, would like to do more of in the future.

Johan Carlberg
VP for Global BU E-commerce at DB Schenker

There have been massive changes in e-commerce and supply chains in the last years – probably the changes caused and even boosted by the pandemic. Did you expect such a development? 

Johan: We did not anticipate the degree of acceleration caused by the pandemic, but the development and trajectory, yes. However, if you ask me, we are in a far more exciting period of development now. Right now, consumers are returning to brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. And at the same time, on the capital market, money is no longer “for free,” so the industry needs to act.  

In periods of vast market growth, the behavior is somewhat predictable. But as the markets contract and, more importantly, as in our case, develops, the players’ behavior becomes more differentiated. The market is seeking a new foothold as our world changes post-covid. More is needed to pull out another investment round to double down on increased capacity. It’s far more critical to be close to the consumers, clever, FAST, and stake your path. That requires creative customer-centric thinking, entrepreneurship, and fast and firm decision-making.  

What’s the way forward for e-commerce and supply chains in general and in DBS specifically? 

Johan: “In general,” we will only know as the story plays out over the following years. For Schenker, specifically, we will focus on productizing our offering across the business units to solve the customer pain points along the value chain. We will make sure to capture the different data flows to enable us to generate efficiencies, internally and externally. Furthermore, we will use the data to generate insights on how to help our clients to grow faster and beat their competition with a supreme supply chain. We will not only be a 3PL provider but also our customer’s growth partner. 

For example, with one of our key clients in this new workflow, we’ve worked together to enhance their future growth plans. This includes services across business units Air, Ocean, Land, and CL. It’s been a step-by-step process. First, we started with the global Air Freight business in 2021. Next, was the move to the testing phases regarding custom clearances. And now, more opportunities are planned for 2023, and the possibility of acquiring even more brands.

As the new VP for Global BU E-commerce, we assume you are ordering everything online, right? But what makes you passionate about e-commerce? 

Johan: I order a considerable amount online because of the convenience and service level. I still like the store environment, as I truly enjoy the chat at the fish deli or my tailor down the street. The latter is probably because it’s more of a meeting point for coffee, good wine, clothes, and business discussions among professionals. 

Jokes aside, from a consumer point of view, as said, it is a convenience and enormous choice. From a business perspective, it’s the global reach and scale that a local store can achieve. It is how brands can gain direct access to their consumers without a retail proxy and how we can help these companies grow with our services and resources. That fascinates me.  

In conclusion

Customer-centricity is the future of all operations, including successful account development through a combination of commercial and P&L responsibility in one role. At DB Schenker, Johan and his team believe in combined ownership of customer relationships and operations, which allows for autonomy to source services and to make quick decisions. With a focus on customer profitability and volume growth, the highly experienced team, with a deep understanding of their customer needs and a “can-do” attitude, have proven their ability to manage sudden customer requirements and to handle extreme spikes on top of the forecasted volume.

Published: November 2022