Welcome to the Precision Software News Round-Up: 11 May 2018. This week we had a look at the impressive and cute UPS electric trucks, Alibaba expanded with the acquisition of Daraz, and Nestlé signed a huge $7 billion deal with Starbucks. In the Precision Report, we look at the necessity of freight bill auditing and report back from Multimodal 2018.

Parcel Deliveries and Carriers

UPS Unveils Capable (and Very Cute) Electric Trucks

It’s not often that a delivery vehicle gets branded as “adorable”, but that has been the response to the new UPS electric trucks. The 35 lightweight electric trucks are also impressive — they can do 150 miles on a single charge; the wrap-around windshield will give the driver a wider field of view; and the trucks include Advanced Driver Assistance Systems to help curb driver fatigue.The company will pilot the zero-emissions trucks in London and Paris. They should be on the road by the end of 2018. To read more, please see Engadget or the UPS press release.

Huge Parcels Growth but Q1 Profits Drop at PostNL

There was mixed news from PostNL this week. The company reported a year-on-year drop in profits for the first quarter of 2018, down from €41m to €14m. Revenue was up by €5m to €875m, and Post NL’s e-commerce revenue is growing. It accounted for 34 percent of revenue in Q1 2017, and 42 percent for the first quarter of this year. This increase is due to parcel volumes growth of 25 percent. However, addressed mail volume dropped by 10.3 percent. PostNL CEO Herna Verhagen stated this Q1 performance had been anticipated. However, she claimed that PostNL was on track to achieve more than half their revenue from e-commerce by 2020. For more on this story, please see Post & Parcel.

Retail E-Commerce

Alibaba Buys Pakistani online retailer Daraz

This week Alibaba announced that it had bought Pakistani online retailer Daraz. The move supports the Chinese e-commerce giant’s global expansion. It also gives Alibaba an entry into the growing South Asian consumer market. Daraz’s key markets include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal as well as Pakistan. The company was founded in 2012 and specializes in consumer electronics, household goods, beauty, fashion, sports equipment and groceries. For more on this story, please click here.

Nestlé and Starbucks Agree $7 billion licensing deal

Nestlé has announced a $7 billion licensing deal with Starbucks. This gives the global giant the right to market Starbucks consumer products. As a result, many more retailers will be able to stock products such as Starbucks ground beans and Starbucks-brand Nespresso pods. Nestlé will pay Starbucks US$7.15 billion up-front and the deal does not include any fixed assets. For more, please click here.

Global Trade

Trade War Could Threaten Apple’s Supply Chain

A trade war between the US and China could have a negative impact on Apple’s supply chain. That’s the opinion of Morris Chang, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). In an interview, Chang also stated that the threat of higher tariffs between the two superpowers would have repercussions for companies in the global supply chain. “China does a lot of assembling of the final product, so the US-China trade dispute may impact us also,” he said. TSMC supplies processors for the iPhone. A number of Taiwanese electronics firms are part of Apple’s supply chain. These include iPhone assemblers Hon Hai Precision Industry, Pegatron and Wistron. For more on this, please click here.

Freight Bill Auditing

The Precision Report

Whether You Ship Containers or Parcels, Freight Bill Auditing Is Necessary

Global shipping and transportation is an expensive business, and one rife with inefficiencies. Recent research from Drewry, the maritime research and consulting services firm, claims that more attention needs to be paid to transportation and shipping payment processes. The consultancy firm see technology as the answer to this problem. Few global shippers would dispute the assertion that freight auditing and invoice reconciliation can throw up marked errors. Despite that, not all organizations track, control and audit their shipping spend. However, any company that ships — whether by container or parcel — needs to control shipping costs. In the latest Precision Report we look at the importance of freight bill auditing and examine outsourced and in-house solutions. To read the full report, please click here.

Logistics Is The New Retail: Simon Heath Reports From Multimodal 2018

Getting retail logistics right is no easy task. Simon Heath, European Sales Manager with Precision Software, attended the recent Multimodal expo in Birmingham. In his report, Simon discusses a talk titled, ‘Logistics is the New Retail’ by John Munnelly, Head of Operations at department store John Lewis and Andrew Starkey, MD of Spiral 4. He also shares some insights into the evolving world of e-commerce and retail logistics. You can read Simon’s report here.