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From the Editor-in-Chief – September 2015

OPERATIONS AND LOGISTICS, once behind the scenes, are now very much in the full glare of the customer view. Shoppers who have ordered online not only want to take control of where and when they’ll get their purchases – but to track them along the way.

Delivery, thus, is at the heart of the online promise and today’s leading retailers have handed consumers control. They’ve worked closely with the logistics industry to give customers the final choice of where they pick up or take delivery, and how they return any unwanted goods.

The best retailers have transformed expectations. By showing what is possible, they set a level that becomes the minimum competitive level. Fast delivery to a convenient point is now largely taken for granted – and the boundaries are constantly being pushed.

But such innovation comes at a cost and it’s important that such sterling service does not go unrewarded. In high street retail, we calculated that the fixed costs of building a shop were paid upfront, with retailers moving into profitability once that amount was covered.

In cross-channel retail, each parcel sent comes at an unavoidable cost, even when the scale is massive and the individual cost is low. To achieve, and to retain, profitability, operations and logistics must function consistently at a high level. This is an area that holds within it some of the most important aspects of cross-channel success, which retailers must master to succeed: capability, experience and profitability. That’s why this IRUK 500, 2015 Performance Dimension Report on Operations and Logistics is critical reading.

Over the page our editors, Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, explain the thinking behind this report, and how our research team has gone about measuring the industry’s deliveries, collections and returns.

We’ve relied on the insights of our valued Knowledge Partners to extend the scope of our in-house research, and our thanks go to them. Do get in touch if you have further data sets or studies that you feel could help further, and if you’d like to join the ranks of our partners.

We now look forward to unveiling the IREU 500 in January, 2016.

Ian Jindal


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