Explore the future of post and parcel with Frank Sportolari

President, UPS Germany

Have a read of our exclusive interview with Frank Sportolari, who will be delivering the opening keynote at Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit, titled ‘2030 vision: securing delivery innovation for the next decade.’

In the lead-up to the event, we hosted an exclusive interview with Frank to discuss the core issues that will drive innovation in the logistics industry over the next decade, how innovation is allowing UPS to offer value-added services to its customers, and how logistics providers can use new technologies to keep up with the changing landscape of last mile delivery.

We hope you enjoy!

As networks are adapted to match the growth of e-commerce and digital transformation creates new opportunities, the next decade will bring exciting changes to the logistics sector. In your opinion, what are the core issues that will influence the market and drive innovation as we look to 2030?

 

International trade is growing strongly, especially in the B2C sector – in fact, global cross-border online sales are projected to make up 20 percent of e-commerce in 2022. Consumers not only expect goods to be in stock, they expect to get them quickly and don’t want to be held up with customs or paperwork. Nowadays, they want to get products from the US, Italy, or China just as easily as they get products from their home market. But it’s not just speed consumers are looking for – it’s also choice, convenience, and control.

New disruptive technologies offer unique opportunities for e-commerce. The collection of data from consumers is making the customer experience even more personalized. This can result in an individual shopping and delivery experience that is completely monitored and controlled by the consumer and leads to a better customer experience. To learn more about the online shopper of today, have a look at our study: ups.com/pulse.

“68% of online shoppers buy internationally, so it’s no surprise that cross-border e-commerce is expected to grow twice as fast as domestic e-commerce.”

As B2C and B2B cross-border trade keeps expanding, the market needs to continue providing flexibility, visibility and affordability. Our research shows that 68% of online shoppers buy internationally, so it’s no surprise that cross-border e-commerce is expected to grow twice as fast as domestic e-commerce. To answer these demands, UPS has invested heavily in its network in recent years to create additional capacity and shorten transit times. In addition to larger and faster facilities, last year we launched UPS Worldwide Economy, a new deferred service designed to provide efficient international shipping options. We see this as an affordable solution for companies to take their e-commerce services to new markets around the world.

With UPS MyChoice™, consumers get shipment notifications – often with delivery windows – and can select another delivery location or arrival day if it fits their schedule better. For example, they can set a preference to have their packages sent to their favorite UPS Access Point™ location – one of 40,000 worldwide – where customers can conveniently pick up and drop off packages.

From the supply chain to the last mile, logistics providers have the potential to innovate from end-to-end. How will innovation enable UPS to offer value-added services to their customers and stay ahead of their competitors?

 

In an ever-changing and progressive industry, we have to anticipate what consumers will want and need in the future. With this in mind, we are constantly developing our technologies and improving our network. Transparency and control will continue to be buzzwords in the future: consumers want the entire supply chain to be transparent and to be able to influence it at any time.

While we serve those needs, we also look to technical innovations to make sure we are operating sustainably. Reducing our carbon footprint is increasingly important to both shippers and receivers of parcels.

We’ve set concrete goals for sustainable package delivery. With our “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS uses around 10,000 low-emission vehicles worldwide to determine which alternative fuels and cutting-edge technology vehicles work best on different routes and in different work cycles. These include all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and propane. More than 80 fully electric delivery vehicles are already in operation in Germany.

Starting in 2012, UPS has been working on ‘City Logistics’ projects to further reduce emissions in now over 30 German cities. From mobile or rented depots, employees deliver parcels by cart or cargo bikes. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, these projects improve the living quality in cities by reducing congestion. We see this as a key innovation area that will continue to show UPS’s commitments in the future as we keep expanding to new cities worldwide.

“With our “Rolling Laboratory” approach, UPS uses around 10,000 low-emission vehicles worldwide to determine which alternative fuels and cutting-edge technology vehicles work best on different routes and in different work cycles.”

Lockers, autonomous vehicles, drones and apps have disrupted last mile delivery in recent years. How can logistics providers tactically utilize these new technologies to keep up with the changing landscape of home delivery?

 

The last mile is currently home to an incredible number of innovations. It is the most visible area for digitalization and advancing technologies.

We believe that technology coupled with intelligent logistics solutions can optimize delivery and help cities reduce congestion. We want to make our contribution to cities of the future while ensuring efficient solutions for transportation.

“The last mile is currently home to an incredible number of innovations. It is the most visible area for digitalization and advancing technologies.”

From our point of view, autonomous driving has great potential for the future. While fully autonomous, driverless vehicles still have development and regulatory work ahead, we are excited by advances in braking and other technologies. All of these technologies offer significant safety and other benefits that will be realized long before the full vision of autonomous vehicles is brought to fruition – and UPS will be there, as a leader implementing these new technologies in our fleet.

In addition, we founded the subsidiary UPS Flight Forward Inc. last year, to expand delivery by drone. Our latest success: UPS Flight Forward, together with CVS Health Corporation, a subsidiary of CVS Pharmacy, Inc., delivered prescription medicines directly to consumers by drone for the first time.

Frank is President of UPS Germany and also President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. 

Frank will be speaking at Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit, taking place in Copenhagen on the 23 – 24 March 2020.

Leaders in Logistics: Post and Parcel Summit is the must-attend summit uniting logistics and postal operators from across EMEA.