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Fewer staff, less emission and more sales?

Sustainable ecommerce

This is how sustainable e-commerce helps your business through the crises

Rising energy prices and a tight labor market call for smart solutions. But where do you start? Karim Lyarnazi of PostNL fulfillment and Sander van den Broek of Optiply explain how to get the most out of your business in difficult times. And in a sustainable way too.

PostNL fulfillment and Optiply started their collaboration with a pilot project within the Econnections program. This program brings different parties together to accelerate the sustainability of e-commerce. The two companies turned out to be a perfect match. PostNL wants to be the driver of sustainable e-commerce in the Benelux, taking on the webshop logistics of customers. Optiply complements the service of PostNL through data-driven inventory automation. And this combination has advantages.

Prevent waste with inventory automation

There are plenty of ways to do business more sustainable. Inventory automation may not be the most obvious one. Yet this is a smart solution to make your business more sustainable. What exactly does it involve? Sander explains: “Thirty years ago, inventory was not that complicated. You did your inventory maybe once every two weeks and your demand fluctuated by 10%. Meanwhile, everything has become more complex. Demand fluctuates and the market is more uncertain. For example, as a webshop, you can suddenly have the number one position on You then have to respond quickly to the increase demand, so you can no longer get by with old inventory models.’

So, time for a new solution: inventory automation. Smart data and algorithms regulate your purchasing process, so that you no longer have to make all the decisions yourself. This saves a lot of time, but it also has environmental benefits. ‘Because you purchase more efficiently, you make fewer unnecessary transport movements. Moreover, you have less stock that needs to be stored,’ says Sander. So you save on fuel and energy. And that’s more than welcome with the current energy prices!

But even earlier in the supply chain you make an impact with inventory automation. By automating your purchasing, you are less likely to make the wrong decisions. Sander: ‘As a result, fewer unnecessary products are produced. In this way avoiding pure waste.’

Less staff needed

The collaboration of PostNL and Optiply has another big advantage. If you outsource the logistics part, you need fewer personnel. A win-win situation, given the tight labor market. In addition, the two companies are taking a lot of work off webshops’ hands with this pilot. Sander: “Many webshop owners say, ‘Supply chain is not my thing. I like selling, but this part is not my hobby.’ By combining our services, we can almost completely unburden the online seller. Then they just sell and our solution makes sure the products are in place and that they are shipped.’

This way customers participating in the pilot focus entirely on growing their webshop.

A promising total solution

Together, PostNL and Optiply are working on a service that is sustainable and unburdens webshop owners. But these are not the only advantages. The service also provides customers with higher sales. Sander: ‘Inventory automation is objectively very valuable. Say you have ten million euros in turnover per year with a product availability of 85%. If that product availability increases to 95% through smart purchasing, you can turn over an extra million euros in no time.

But you can also benefit from inventory automation in the service area. Take Travelbags, for example. When the webshop partnered with Optiply, they saw service levels improve by as much as 20%, while inventory levels decreased by 22%.

That’s something everyone wants. When you combine the benefits of inventory automation with those of fulfillment, you have a promising total solution. If it is up to Karim, this will be within reach for many entrepreneurs in the future: ‘I hope we will continue to work together and be able to offer this as a module to all our customers. In this way, together we will ensure a sustainable e-commerce chain and even more satisfied customers!’

Econnections is an innovation initiative from, Deloitte, Google Cloud, IKEA, Mollie, and PostNL to accelerate sustainability in e-commerce. The program aims to reduce the growing ecological footprint of the e-commerce sector. Its mission is to realize 500 million (more) sustainable online purchases by 2026. Seven scaleups are participating in Econnections 2022; Chargetrip, Drop & Loop, Greenplan, Manyfolds GmbH, Optiply, PlasticFri® and Returnless.

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