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Could DP World be the Amazon of ports and container logistics?

27 July 2017

“We do the prep. You be the chef” is the new trademark registered by Amazon which gives us a glimpse of the plans the online giant has following its purchase of Whole Foods. But, I suspect, this is just the beginning.

By Claire Anwyl, Marketing and Communications Manager, DP World Southampton

“We do the prep.  You be the chef” is the new trademark registered by Amazon which gives us a glimpse of the plans the online giant has following its purchase of Whole Foods.  But, I suspect, this is just the beginning.  

They already have lockers.  Just yesterday, when I made a last minute online purchase, I was offered the convenience of picking up my order from a locker at my local train station or petrol station. There are over eight delivery categories in the UK alone on Amazon’s site.

Will we start seeing refrigerated Amazon lockers next?  Or, when I was on a recent trip to Dubai, virtual supermarkets in the metro were common place.  So maybe a virtual Whole Foods which is essentially online shopping in public.  A bit too weird for me personally, and why not just use an app?

However, having discovered Whole Foods in the States six years ago, the whole experience just blew my mind. I wasn’t doing the weekly food shop I was having a food experience.  Neatly summed up by my husband who said, “if supermarkets were like this back home, I’d do the food shopping every week!”  I swear, we could have spent the best part of the day in the down town Boca store.

It’s not new and it ain’t rocket science.

Let’s be clear, Amazon is not the first company to enter into the organic food lifestyles sector and nor is it an early adopter of the meal kits phenomena.  However, with its platform and customer centric model it’s almost a sure bet that it’s going to disrupt the grocery sector in a big way.

I heard Mark Thorton, Marketing Director, Maginus speak earlier this year about the rise of Amazon.  He neatly summed it up for me by pointing out that Amazon is (1) obsessed with data and (2) watches and learns.  It watches what others are doing really well, copies it and then, using its vast data power, puts its own Amazonian (Mark’s phrase, not mine ;-)) spin or flavour on the product or service.    So how long do we think it’s been watching the grocery sector and what sector is it eyeing up next?  That’s a post for another time.

Could logistics hold the key?

If Amazon didn’t have such a slick, well-oiled delivery machine with a massive array of choice and options that makes my life so convenient, then would I have used the platform?  Probably not.  

So, working in the area of logistics and delivery myself, albeit on a bigger scale; DP World deals with giant 30 tonne container boxes every day, I had to ask myself what can we learn?

And, to be fair, we are watching and learning, just like Amazon.

Our customers’ customers – the end user – are our customers (indirectly).  It’s not just the shipping lines and 3PLs DP World is servicing but their customers; the retailers, manufacturers and cargo owners. Understanding the end user helps us serve our customers in a more relevant manner.

We have been learning and listening to hundreds of companies right across the spectrum, from Honda Car Manufacturing, to ShopDirect, Next, Mothercare and ELC, Boots, John Lewis, Sainsburys and Oak Furniture Land to name but a few. Understanding what their pinch and pain points are.  

So what has DP World learnt and what are we doing to add value to the customer-centric and personalisation driven model that is at the heart of any good e-commerce business or giant omni-channel retailer?

A reliable and quick supply chain 

For retailers speed and reliability are key. DP World turns vessels around faster than its competitors.  Its truck turnaround times are faster than competitors (sub 35 minute truck*);  and its 100% rail reliability is the best in the UK (less than 0.5% misses).

Knowing that you can make an order for your distribution centre and that it will be discharged on time (from the vessel) and delivered on time (via road or rail) is vital.  Don't take our word for it. Watch what Gillian Scott,  Import Logistics Manager, John Lewis, had to say.   With a reliable service, you can do better planning in advance and better planning equals better stock control and management.  Fulfilling  your customers’ expectations without letting them down at the last minute because an item is out of stock or didn’t arrive at your DC on time. 

Visibility of your supply chain

Every customer who ships through DP World has complete visibility of their product from ship to shore with our (DP World’s) online where’s my container? tool.  It makes it really easy to see when the box will be discharged, where it is and when it’s ready to be picked up.  You get the complete picture, including when it has been returned so you can monitor restitution costs.

M&S has reduced their inland distribution lead time by two days allowing them to get product from warehouses to shop floor or customer door quicker.  Peacock clothing (part of the Edinburgh Wool Group) chooses Southampton because the performance and visibility has enabled them to save days off their rail movements.

Reduce risk in your supply chain

DP World is the only operator in the UK that can offer retailers a  two port strategy.  
Retailers prefer to have options within their supply chain by not routing everything through just one port; never put all your eggs in one basket as the old adage goes. 

Both DP World London Gateway and DP World Southampton provide operational back up for each other, so taking the risk of vessel delay or congestion out of the supply chain and allowing retailers to improve inventory availability.

Creating flexibility and capacity in your supply chain

Black Friday, Christmas, back to school, Easter the seasonal trends and peaks are many.  
Well-known high street retailers are already taking advantage of the ready to go warehouse facilities at DP World London Gateway with short term leases so they can create an agile supply chain that responds to the peaks and troughs of consumer demands without the added cost of building and investing in more bricks and mortar.

And, if your business is growing too fast, we’ll take back your existing park lease and/ or build you a larger building (with a guaranteed 28 days to get planning permission) 

Reduce waste in your supply chain

For perishable produce it’s a no-brainer.  

It stands to reason that an efficient UK port which is both quick at processing your cargo; works closely with the authorities to get clearance, and then only has to move your product to a warehouse less than two minutes away but close to a large footprint of your stores, is more efficient AND saves waste.

This ‘portcentric’ model offered at London Gateway means you can then get your products to store faster, cutting one/two days out of the supply chain and, importantly, increasing the selling window before the produce expires.  

It’s a win win.  Retailers can reduce the amount of un-sold food and waste, while increasing their sales and bottom line.


DP World’s prime bundle 

Amazon says Prime is fast delivery and more.  Speak to DP World to find out how we can do more for you:  help your business turn orders around in a day, deliver them with greater customization, and replenish stocks seamlessly.  That’s the DP World Prime bundle.

Contact our commercial teams at Southampton on 023 80 701701 or rfreeman@dpworldsouthampton and London Gateway on 01375 648311 or 

P.S. By the way, I bought a plastic crown and a puzzle from Amazon.  Just in case you were wondering ;-)

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