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Editors’ comment – June 2017

WELCOME TO our latest IREU Top500 Performance Dimension Report, which deals with Operations & Logistics. This is an area where there has been huge innovation in recent years, driven by customers no longer being prepared to wait days – or, in the not-so-distant past, even weeks – for items they have purchased. Customers across Europe now expect to be able to opt for next-day delivery or click and collect, and will often shop elsewhere if they’re not offered these options.

Automation has been key to enabling retailers to offer customers these kinds of services. This trend is set to continue and, for our emerging practice feature, we consider how Otto is using machine-learning technology to streamline its supply chain and cut delivery times.

As we reflect in our strategic overview, the human factor is also starting to become a key consideration when it comes to fulfilment. That’s in part because the rise of the gig economy, where workers such as couriers are self-employed or working on flexible contracts, looks likely to be at least partly checked by changes in legislation. Think of this in the context of a case in the European Court of Justice that may see Uber treated as a transport company rather than an internet company.

Elsewhere in this Dimension Report, we look in detail at how well leading European retailers are performing within Operations & Logistics in our analysing the numbers feature. In our ongoing research feature, we compare and contrast how the delivery and returns options available to consumers compare – and contrast – across different European territories.

In our lead interview, we talk to Schuh about how the company is meeting its customers’ demands for fast and convenient deliveries and returns, and the place of Operations & Logistics in its European expansion. We also have case studies on Asos , H&M, Carrefour and Deichmann. In our 12 approaches that work feature, we take further snapshots of best practice across Europe.

We’d like to thank all of the Knowledge Partners who have contributed their expertise and insights for this Dimension Report. We welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis. Please email: and

Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, Editors

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