Tech to Help Retailers Amplify Online DemandBy Cas Biekmann | Wed, 01/13/2021 - 11:22
Q: What is NetLogistik’s story in Mexico and what would you say is its biggest success?
A: NetLogistik has been around for 20 years and operates in Colombia, Mexico and the US. We have around 340 employees. We started out as a transportation management system (TMS) company. Originally, our vision was to become the Uber for transportation but the market was not ready for that two decades ago; companies were unprepared and we did not have the smartphones, systems and internet that we have today. Instead, we began offering services as a TMS. Later, we created a portfolio that included best-of-breed solutions like Blue Yonder and Vocollect. About eight years ago, we started developing our own solutions for SMEs.
Today, we want our customers to see us as a one-stop-shop for supply chain solutions. We want to help clients implement solutions ranging from hardware such as RF voice devices to software services, support and many others. Therefore, we not only offer TMS but warehousing solutions, demand planning, points of sale and omnichannel solutions. Our slogan is, “Your digital supply chain in our hands.” This defines us quite well.
Q: What sets Netlogistik apart from its competition?
A: The idea of the one-stop-shop is one of our main differentiators. However, we are also unique in terms of the breadth of our portfolio, which covers most aspects of the supply chain, and that we can assist companies of all sizes. Another big differentiator is our integration with Blue Yonder, which as a partner represents around 55 percent of what we do. We own one of the biggest global practices of Blue Yonder, outside of their own. We have more than 120 consultants scattered in our three offices, half of them have already been accredited directly by Blue Yonder. Furthermore, we have 20 years of experience of implementing solutions for more than 150 clients. We are present in approximately 450 warehouses in more than 20 countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Canada. I think there are only a few competitors than can match this experience and worldwide coverage. Finally, the company invests in its own people. We have training plans that exceed more than 25,000 hours, covering both internal and external training related to soft and hard skills and certifications, including MBAs.
Our solutions provide four added values for our customers: we help increase productivity in warehouse and transportation processes, decrease operating costs, help increase the level of service and finally, we look for a return on investment from our implementations. During the sales process, we help our customers understand what a solution will cost and when they can expect an ROI.
Q: What main challenges and changes in demand did NetLogistik encounter in the sector in 2020?
A: We were fortunate to close 2020 with revenue very similar to 2019. The company also was able to continue working on over 100 projects. Other projects were canceled because some companies struggled with the pandemic. Thanks to the emergence of various COVID-19 vaccines, the world´s economy, including in Mexico, is beginning to turn around. Companies are gaining confidence to invest in their business again.
The pandemic also increased demand for omnichannel solutions at an unexpected rate. Omnichannel relates to different ways in which you can receive an order, such as through a call center or an app. You then need to decide how this order will be filled, for which there are different options, from warehouses to stores or suppliers. Finally, the question is how to deliver the order, whether through a courier or other means. It was clear that during the pandemic, many companies faced this challenge since the only way to get products out was via online shopping. We worked with customers to implement these e-commerce solutions, especially by increasing warehouse capacity. Some customers told us they sold up to 10 percent more through e-commerce in 2020. For clients that were not involved in e-commerce, it was a challenging situation. The companies that had solutions already in place responded better to the pandemic.
We also saw a trend in implementing routing solutions as companies contemplated delivery issues for an increase in orders. Omnitracs, a solution from our partner, helps our customers to decide how to send their orders by using specific routes and transportation types. Furthermore, companies needed greater proof of delivery. We offer solutions that allow the carrier to update its status. We expect these trends to continue in the months to come.
Q: What are your near-term plans and expectations?
A: This year has made everyone understand the importance of logistics, which are more crucial than ever. For many customers, their supply chain became the only option to reach their customers. All different aspects of the supply chain, including planning, warehousing, transportation, proof of delivery and e-commerce became highly important. I believe we will see this trend develop. Companies will continue to invest in their supply chains, which is good for our industry. We also think that the digitalization of this supply chain will evolve quickly. Many players were not able to invest in 2020 but as soon as the economy recovers, they will move to digitalize their supply chain and invest more than ever. As a result, we expect to grow between 15 and 25 percent once the economic recession ends. Order management systems will grow in popularity, as they help retailers to manage omnichannel challenges via their inventories and shipments. Customers today want to know how much product is left and when they will receive it once they purchase it. We think this will be an important trend.
NetLogistik is a global company created in 2000 that provides technology services and solutions to a company’s supply chain. It has offices in Mexico, Colombia and the US.