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Driven by logistics technology, will the courier become the outgoer?

As the technology of the express delivery industry accelerates, a new question emerges: Will the intelligentization of the logistics industry trigger massive unemployment among couriers? Welcome to "The Courier" Dragged by Technology "
The cart was filled with express parcels of different sizes, and SF Express Brother pressed 10 floors in the elevator room. Arriving at the front desk of Yiou, he scanned the QR code on the electronic face sheet using the SF APP and collected a batch of express packages to be sent.
Most of the customers who send couriers have not noticed that the paper-based single-faced and hand-held scanners have disappeared for a long time. Unconsciously, this industry has entered the era of technology logistics from the original "slash and burn".
From the robotic arm, conveyor belt and automatic three-dimensional shelf in the storage link, to the intelligent capacity allocation and intelligent route planning in the transportation link, to the intelligent order at the end of the distribution, drone distribution, intelligent express cabinet, etc. In the logistics industry, every link is now filled with strong technological factors.
However, the logistics industry surrounded by technology shows another picture in the logistics pattern:
Under the rendering of technology, express delivery companies pay more attention to customer experience, and then continue to explore the edge of the business and develop new projects, resulting in the number and pressure of terminal delivery personnel increasing;
For express companies facing consumers, the amount of investment in technology is large, the degree of application is high, and the corresponding profitability has also been significantly improved. For express companies facing the enterprise side, technology investment has been slow to the same extent as express companies.
With the help of capital, the integration of the express delivery market and the acceleration of mergers and acquisitions have formed three forces mainly dominated by Cainiao, JD, and SF. The pattern of the express delivery market has shifted to the e-commerce logistics market.
Technology "drags" couriers
Against the backdrop of the rise of e-commerce, the number of express parcels in China has risen exponentially, and ultimately these "burdens" have been weighed on express companies represented by "four links and one reach".
In the double eleven in 2013, the orders of Taobao + Tmall exceeded 100 million for the first time, and "Express Express" became the hot word on the Internet for the first time. In 2014, China's express delivery volume of 14 billion yuan exceeded that of the developed economies such as the United States, Japan and Europe, and became the world's largest express delivery country.
Driven by the vigorous development of e-commerce at that time, the upgrading of the logistics industry has already begun. The phenomenon of industrial upgrading clusters was first manifested in the rookie positioned on the intelligent backbone network. The 14 express companies such as the rookie and Tongda Department jointly launched an electronic face sheet platform to unify various data standards, plan express delivery routes, and take orders from express delivery. Links began to shorten the distance of information transmission.
Next, Cainiao launched the first cloud-based logistics basic information service platform in 2015, using cloud processing capabilities to show users the timeliness and accuracy of logistics and transportation details;
JD.com announced for the first time the use of the Shanghai "Asia No. 1" modern logistics center with an automatic access system, automatic picking shelves and automated conveying equipment, making preparations for the big promotion of the Double Eleven. By building a logistics infrastructure driven by technology and efficiency, they have realized the digitization of infrastructure in the logistics industry.
In 2016, logistics technology exhibited an "amazing" aspect in transportation. Amazon used drones to deliver express parcels for consumers for the first time; DHL Group delivered more than 130 express parcels through drones in the Bavarian town of Germany; China's first self-developed unmanned delivery vehicle independently developed by JD.com began road testing; Cainiao and Xinyi The technology-built automated warehouse operation center operates in Guangzhou.
Hardware equipment and technologies such as automated sorting equipment, AGV, intelligent warehousing, intelligent decision-making, unmanned delivery trolleys, etc. have gradually become the immediate needs of major express companies. A single express delivery from order-package delivery-transit-transportation-delivery, timeliness Transparency and transparency fill the entire logistics and transportation process.
However, as the technology of the express delivery industry accelerates, a new question emerges: Will the intelligentization of the logistics industry trigger massive unemployment among couriers?
Ma Yun once left a prediction about "logistics technology and courier" at the 2017 Global Smart Logistics Summit: "Every technological revolution will bring huge unemployment, but the real new technology is for people to do More valuable things. Many couriers who are organized today are likely to be unemployed, because of the robots, because of the driverless cars, and the delivery of drones that are relatively good today.
As of now, the number of couriers has not developed in the direction predicted by Ma Yun, but the opposite.
In the double eleven peak season of 2019, the national express delivery business volume reached 2.8 billion pieces, and the highest daily processing volume reached 520 million pieces. In other words, the average 2.1 million first-line couriers across the country need to deliver more than 240 pieces of courier per day.
This is a serious "overload" figure. In order to make up for the lack of terminal delivery capacity during peak hours, various express delivery companies generally strengthened the terminal personnel, venues, and vehicle reserves, and temporarily supplemented nearly 400,000 people.
Couriers are almost always racing against time. Yunda courier told Yiou that no matter the peak or usual time, from 6 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock in the evening; Yuantong courier who worked for seven or eight years also said that the delivery was about 120-130 tickets a few years ago, and now the lowest There are 300 votes; during the double eleven peak period, many people even received text messages from various couriers in the early morning: "The parcel has put the meter box opposite you, pay attention to check."
The person in charge of the Shunfeng site next to Jumei Home in Chaoyang District introduced to Yiou that automated sorting equipment is used more in headquarters such as distribution centers and transfer warehouses. Finally, it is dispatched to the site. The courier needs to sort the package to the delivery area by himself.
According to the data from 58 City Recruitment Research Institute, the demand for recruitment that includes the words "courier" increased by multiples in the first half of 2019. Among them, the highest year-on-year growth in April 2019 reached 271.96%, followed by a year-on-year increase of 162.27% in June.
Liu Dacheng, deputy dean of the Internet Industry Research Institute of Tsinghua University and director of the logistics industry research center, and a doctoral tutor, told Yiou that the application of logistics technology is mainly reflected in the following aspects:
First, digital technology, to achieve precise docking of the entire logistics process, to achieve node, network, vehicle and cargo matching, etc .;
The second is the equipment foundation, equipment technologies such as automatic sorting, automatic operation, automatic loading and unloading;
The third is the Internet of Things technology, which realizes real-time monitoring of goods, vehicles and personnel in logistics transportation;
Fourth, the collection capacity of the overall system has been strengthened;
The fifth is decision support. The computer's decision support capabilities help companies make predictions and decisions.
That is to say, in the long run, Ma Yun's point of view is correct. The logistics technology of express delivery companies is reflected in the tiered stages such as warehousing, sorting centers, and cargo transit centers. However, at present, technology has not reached the level of the entire logistics chain. In addition, the express delivery is in the growth stage, and the last mile of delivery at the end, the relevant personnel have not been relieved from the work pressure.
From the site to the end of the distribution link, manual operations still account for the vast majority of the workload. The application of logistics technology, while improving efficiency, actually shifts the labor focus of industry practitioners to those jobs that machines cannot replace.
However, the intelligentization of the terminal distribution link is also beginning to take shape. For example, the increasing use of intelligent express cabinets has replaced part of the work of couriers.
"Not cost-effective" investment in scientific research
The phenomenon of polarization in the application of science and technology in the logistics field has gradually surfaced. Like the listed express delivery companies, the level of technology is highly scientific in the process of high standardization. The profitability of scientific research investment is directly proportional to its payout.
On the other hand, express companies are in a state of fragmentation and poor concentration. They do not have enough capital to support the development and application of their technology, resulting in insufficient technology penetration and unsatisfactory results.
The term "bursting" is a high-frequency negative word that appears during the peak period of the double eleven e-commerce business. The high technology of AGV and automatic sorting equipment in the warehouse has not been completely intelligent, and express companies still have to face The warehouse backlog caused by the explosion of warehouses, the increase in consumer complaints, the drop in profit in peak season and the loss in off-season, the test of anti-risk ability, etc.
Before logistics technology became a system, these were very difficult problems to solve. However, the rapid development of the e-commerce market and the increase in users' demand for services are forcing logistics companies to constantly innovate themselves.
In 2016, private express companies such as SF Express, Yuantong, Shentong and Yunda went public and landed on the capital market. The 7 listed express companies have formed an enterprise cluster with revenue exceeding 100 billion yuan and 4-5 revenue exceeding 50 billion yuan.
In addition, Alibaba's continuous investment in Zhongtong, Yuantong, Shentong and Baishi companies has given express delivery companies a steady flow of power and continuously increased the proportion of R & D investment in science and technology. From 2015 to 2018, various express delivery companies such as Tongda Department and Best have increased the proportion of investment in automation equipment year by year, and increased the use of automation equipment in logistics transportation such as warehousing, distribution centers, and transit links.
In terms of technology and information IT, in 2018 alone, SF, Zhongtong, Yuantong, Shentong, and Best have invested 2.723 billion, 155 million, 50.629 million, 43.621 million, and 58.1 million yuan, respectively.
The Shentong Yiwu Distribution Center was officially launched and 350 robots were operating at the same time to speed up the sorting of goods; Yuantong was the first to develop and launch an invisible face sheet to enhance the security of users' personal information; Yunda issued stocks to raise RMB 4.517 billion for intelligence The integration of warehouse and distribution and the automatic upgrade project of the transfer center; Zhongtong is planning to realize the unmanned operation of some distribution centers by 2020.
Express delivery and express operation are two different business developments. Express delivery business is different from express delivery business. It mainly focuses on factory parts and provides B2B services. In addition to low delivery frequency, the average ticket weight is too large.
For this reason, the market structure of the express delivery market is uncertain, and the market is fragmented. There are neither leading enterprises surfaced nor a "leader" like Ali. Even the price war now fought has entered the situation of the express delivery market ten years ago. However, in terms of R & D, Debon and Yimi Tick have reached hundreds of millions of yuan.
From 2016 to 2018, Debon has annual R & D expenses of more than 300 million yuan. In terms of digital management, Debon has launched intelligent management systems such as smart stations and Lu systems; in terms of transportation and delivery, smart delivery, integrated sorting of large and small parts, and Debon small D PLUS and other equipment are all on the line.
Yimi Tick, who received the D round of financing, also intends to use 1.8 billion yuan in financing for customer acquisition, core operating nodes, and research and development and investment of intelligent technology to promote its own digital transformation and upgrading. For example, the intelligent dispatching intelligence center it operates can form functions such as monitoring, early warning, and command on cargo.
Anneng Logistics has invested more than 100 million yuan in the research and development of information systems and the introduction of automation equipment. It has a professional R & D team of nearly 200 people in information technology. "Brand" APP, assisting personnel to quickly place orders and send and receive items.
In the process of rising business volume, the increase in the number of machines apportioned the fixed costs of the enterprise and reduced the marginal cost, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency. For example, the automatic sorting equipment is more than 10 times the efficiency of traditional manual sorting. In the past three years, the per capita efficiency of the small express delivery brother has increased from 80 to about 100. Courier packages delivered in the past three to five days can now be delivered on the same day and next day.
Continued investment and promotion of infrastructure upgrades also provide companies with greater competitiveness and profitability. In 2018, the profits of Zhongtong, Yunda, Shentong and Yuantong reached 4.383 billion yuan, 2.698 billion yuan, 2.049 billion yuan and 1.904 billion yuan. Only Best is in a state of loss.
On the other hand, in the field of express delivery, Debon, which landed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2018, is not optimistic. After the transformation of the large-scale express delivery field, its performance continued to decline. In the first quarter of 2019, it lost nearly 50 million yuan. Since then, profitability has been declining, and by the third quarter of 2019, compared with the same period in 2018, compared with 459 million yuan in the same period, a year-on-year decline of 75.7%, Debon still has problems such as high debt ratio and deteriorated cash flow.
The research investment of express and express is equally divided, but the results are not as optimistic as express. Yang Daqing, a special researcher of the China Logistics Society, told Yiou that first of all, the closer to the C-end customer base, the higher the degree of market-based free competition, the lower the barrier to entry, and the more scattered the market resources, the more likely it is that digital technology will be shuffled For example, express delivery, real-time logistics and other living materials logistics related to people's livelihood consumption, high technology application.
The closer to the means of production logistics of the B-end customer group, the higher the industry threshold and the lower the market activity, the harder it is to change the inertia of the service chain. The logistics market serving the B-end is a larger gold mine. However, markets including energy logistics and steel logistics are slow to penetrate because of high intensity.
Second, problems such as uncoordinated transportation methods and the fragmentation and differentiation of technology applications have also indirectly caused high logistics costs and low technology penetration. Rail transportation only accounts for 5% -6% of all freight transportation in China, highways account for 86% of freight transportation, and water transportation and air transportation account for about 10%, which is enough to prove this.
In addition, enterprises such as SF Express and Tongda Department account for more than 70% of the market share of the entire express delivery market, while the concentration of companies in the express transportation field is only 2.9%, and the concentration of the road freight industry is only 1.2%.
Liu Dacheng also believes that the higher the concentration of the industry, the easier it is to form a large-scale industry, and the greater, wider and deeper the application of logistics technology. In the field of express transportation with poor industry concentration, it is easy to form scattered, small and chaotic situations. The company has poor bargaining power for premiums, weak financing period and cash flow, and there is insufficient capital to support the development and application of logistics technology. Now that the entire fast-moving industry is in a recession, it is even more difficult to upgrade technology with heavy assets.
The heavy asset investment of logistics technology in the express delivery industry, drones, unmanned warehouses, etc. are more in the exploration and trial stage. It is currently difficult to produce a direct and ideal effect. However, the emergence and application of new technologies is conducive to capital's attention to the development of this industry, which can increase the vitality of the industry and is not necessarily the actual operating capacity.
Since the development of the logistics industry, the requirements of the capital market on the company's own profitability and return on investment are constantly increasing. This is itself the price of an industry to attract capital.
The express delivery market is restructured
Alibaba is investing to weave its own logistics network, including half of the express delivery market under its banner, to strengthen the relationship between e-commerce and express delivery. JD.com, which builds its own logistics, on the one hand strengthens its own technology control, on the one hand, it wants to make JD Logistics a logistics technology service provider with an annual revenue of more than 100 billion yuan through splitting or independent methods.
In addition, as the leader of the private express delivery industry, SF Express has been facing the siege of the rookie line and JD.com, and has begun to rush to break through and embrace the e-commerce market. Coupled with the rise of e-commerce companies, it has also stirred up the "muddy water" in the logistics market. The new evolution of the logistics market is beginning.
Since 2016, the express delivery market has begun to integrate deeply, and all major enterprises are moving towards the direction of integrated logistics enterprises. Zhongtong entered the field of express transportation, officially launched investment and franchise across the country; Yuantong expanded the field of large and heavy cargo transportation, warehousing, etc .; Yunda put forward the development strategy of "one body and two wings"; Debon's strategic upgrade and layout of large e-commerce