Online shopping boom brings operational challenges for logistics firms

UK logistics firms are facing an “unprecedented rise” in operational costs due to the growth of online shopping, with packaging needs set to be affected, according to new research.

A survey by Antalis Packaging found that 21% of logistics firms believe the main operational challenge for their business over the next one to two years will be rising costs due to ecommerce.

A third of respondents said that as a result, more firms are now looking to improve their packaging recycling rates as well as adopting more eco-friendly solutions.

20% said they are interested in smarter packaging to improve sustainability, reducing the level of plastics and improving the customer experience. 17% of respondents said a focus area is preventing the rising level of damages associated with online purchases.

Andrew Smedley, head of e-commerce and logistical packaging at Antalis said, “With latest figures showing that 20p in every pound is now spent online, it’s unsurprising that many logistics firms are struggling to deal with the mounting costs associated with the packing, processing, and delivery of a record number packages to UK homes. To keep these costs down, many will be looking at ways to optimise existing processes and drive efficiency in the supply chain and packaging is often a great place to start.

“From our research, we’re seeing a discernible shift towards more environmentally friendly business decisions, including a greater number of firms that are actively taking steps to recycle up to 80% of their packaging by 2020 and 100% by 2022. As such, this will no doubt drive investment in not only eco-friendly but also smarter packaging solutions aimed at cutting out excess materials and improving protection from damage.”

76% of logistics firms revealed they had changed the packaging of one or more of their products in the last year. Supplier issues, rising costs and damage/loss of product were cited as the most common reasons behind a change.

Andrew added, “The logistical environment is fast-evolving and competitive and increasingly every resource and square footage used has to demonstrate good value for money. It’s no different for packaging and it’s heartening to see that firms are reaping the rewards of adapting their packaging to meet market conditions and achieving significant cost savings as a result.”