DHL Supply Chain, a division of Deutsche Post DHL, on Monday launched its India fulfillment network (IFN) in Bengaluru and said it will invest Rs 25 crore to scale up the network across major cities and state capitals in the country over the next 12 months.
The IFN will help power Indian businesses' e-commerce business models by providing access to omni-channel distribution capabilities across key markets, DHL said in a release.
Besides enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to leverage the growing e-commerce market, the fully integrated end-to-end fulfillment solution on the 'pay per use model' will also help larger businesses to de-risk through additional ready-to-use hubs, it said.
A 360-degree supply chain solution for enterprises across sectors, the fulfillment network is a launch pad for easing the B2C fulfillment process, allowing them to manage their immediate operations seamlessly in a fully online marketplace scenario.
DHL will invest more than Rs 25 crore to further scale the IFN across major metros and state capitals in the country over the next 12 months, the company said.
The growing number of small and medium retail businesses that have seen a shift in their business models to online marketplaces, is largely spurred by movement restrictions caused by the ongoing pandemic, according to the company.
Even in pre-pandemic times, the opportunity in the domestic e-commerce market was evident and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 27 per cent by 2024, with a large number of sellers in various categories showing a keen interest in shifting to an omni-channel model, it said.
The e-commerce boom during the pandemic has further boosted online retail transactions across India, especially with government-imposed social distancing protocols and a resultant decline in customers at brick-and-mortar shops, it said.
Relatedly, the expansion of e-commerce and third party logistics sectors is also fuelling demand for warehousing, which is expected to increase at 160 per cent, the company said.
"Ultimately the IFN allows SMEs to take advantage of DHL's scale in a way that is flexible and tailored to their needs," said Vikas Anand, Managing Director, DHL Supply Chain, India.
"We can support customers across the entire supply chain - from inbound handling and storage, pick and pack, last-mile delivery as well as handling returns, which will help accelerate and standardize delivery times for their end consumers," he added.
The IFN also offers transportation linkages to customers, providing last mile delivery services to further bolster their independent models, the release said, adding, DHL's strategically located sites, in proximity to the major urban centers, offer SMEs a multi-user network solution with access to its established services that would support them across the entire supply chain.
This 'plug and play' model that provides end-to-end tracking and monitoring will enable merchants to directly sell their products across the whole country, leveraging DHL's network without having to make huge investments in infrastructure and IT.
Additionally, with its 'pay-per-use model', the IFN also gives large retailers and big brands the option to de-risk their supply chains by having access to e-fulfillment hubs across the country, which would be in addition to their main distribution centers. This would ensure their sales and distribution channels are less impacted in case of local lockdowns, the company said.
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