February 27th 2020

Caution Disruption – it's already too late for the parcel industry!

The term "disruption" is on everyone's lips. But what does disruption mean? If you ask around at business conferences, you might think that disruption is the fifth apocalyptic horseman heralding the end of our market economy. Let me reassure you, it's not quite that bad.

Disruption is a wave driven by innovation, digitalization and globalization that overtakes everything in its path: Existing business models, corporate cultures or even entire markets.

Too big to fail?

Facebook, for example, is one of the largest media companies in the world without creating its own content. Uber is the cab competitor par excellence without even owning a vehicle, and Airbnb is scaring even hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt or Marriot. The long-established market players prefer to react with even louder demands for regulation of the disruptive business models.

Yet a mindset true to the motto "An unsolved problem is a startup that has not yet been founded" would be much more purposeful. Where the customer is dissatisfied, the forward-thinking competitor smells a rat, because the competition never sleeps. If you don't satisfy your customer, someone else will do it for you.

Like the German parcel market, for example. Ordering a parcel on the Internet at the touch of a button is easy. But the last mile to the customer presents many parcel suppliers with a Herculean task.

Who hasn't experienced it? You wait for a parcel and wait and wait. The problem has now become a cult. On the Internet, disappointed customers are putting a good face on the problem. Under the hashtag #bestofpaketbote, posts are piling up that take the service quality of DHL, Hermes, DPD, etc. seriously for a ride. For Amazon, this is reason enough to strike back.

Amazon goes the famous extra mile

Don't worry, DHL: Jeff Bezos is going the extra mile for you - and turning it into his own business. According to an industry insider, Amazon has already ordered 20,000 vans for the Ruhr region alone and has set up more than ten of its own logistics centers across Germany.

With delivery offers such as "Next Day" or even "Same Day", Amazon presents smart as well as customer-friendly solutions and is conquering the market in Germany. This is also the case in Düsseldorf's pedestrian zone, where vehicles are only allowed to deliver until 11:30 a.m. on weekdays. It's no wonder that conventional parcel services experience delays. Waiting times of up to a week for a parcel are no exception.

For Amazon, none of this is an obstacle: The corporate giant simply sends the parcel messengers on their way on foot with a backpack. The customer receives the parcels on time and Greta Thunberg would also be satisfied. Well done, Jeff!

But because we shouldn't all be afraid, here's some advice for dealing with disruption. For disruption to occur at all a few factors need to be met in the market. the more - the faster it happens or the more dangerous it becomes.

So which factors favor disruption?

  1. Fundamental changes in customer behavior / mindset
  2. New types of competition
  3. Changes in legal regulations and guidelines
  4. New sales methods and markets
  5. New core technologies in production, procurement or logistics

However, so that we do not all fall victim to disruption, I would like to give you a few valuable tips:

  • Change your mindset! Keep an eye on the five factors of disruption.
  • Listen and be alert to what your customers and employees are saying, doing and feeling!
  • Recognize the potential for improvement in your own shortcomings!

For example, does every delivery service have to have its own parcel store? No. Parcls in the Netherlands proves that. This is an acceptance point that accepts parcels from any supplier. This means that customers no longer have to scour the parcel stores in their area but can conveniently pick up all their parcels in one go.

One step ahead of disruption with foresight

Disruption always comes from the outside. Recognize new trends and developments early on. Keep your eyes and ears open. Perhaps a strategic consultant could give you a helping hand? The decision is yours.

"Danger recognized - danger averted!"

Herbert Höckel

Herbert Höckel is a managing partner here at moweb research GmbH. He has been a market researcher for more than 25 years. In 2004 he founded moweb GmbH, which he is still the owner today. moweb from Düsseldorf operates internationally and is one of the first German market research institutes specializing in digital processes.

You are welcome to purchase his book "Customer Centricity Mindset ® - Really Understand Customers, Master Disruption Successfully" here.

Your success, our goal!