Cooperation for effective transport purchasing in a changing world

​“It is in rough times you understand the value of close and long-term relations”

The workshop arranged by the Transport Purchasing Panel, 18 November 2020, had the theme Cooperation for effective transport purchasing in a changing world. Length, forms and effects of relations were discussed, and part of the workshop was dedicated to the situation amid covid-19. Somewhat surprisingly, all companies seemed to have managed the situation without too many disruptions, although it has been hard work. They partly dedicated this to close and long-term relations with the transport service providers.
​The Transport Purchasing Panel's workshop theme 2020 was collaboration for more effective transport purchasing in a changing world. The workshop was held online on 18 November, when researchers and industry met to share knowledge and discuss how transport purchasing may contribute to efficient and sustainable transport. It was concluded that the purchasing process and relations between actors becomes increasingly important as events such as covid-19 and more strict environmental requirements and goals changes the conditions in logistics.

The representatives from Elgiganten, Elin Petersson and Gustav Vesterlund, distribution specialists at Elgiganten Logistik, delivered an inspirational speech about their work on long-term collaborations in logistics. In 2013, Elgiganten decided to take more responsibility as a product owner and work to change the transport industry by placing higher demands on partners and investing more in long term business relations. The developed concept was labelled "Logistics with the heart" and focuses on CSR issues such as formal working conditions and social work environment. The concept meant a shift in transport providers, where Elgiganten nowadays are working directly with rather many haulers instead of a few forwarders. Interestingly, by help of the haulers, they had also been able to arrange horizontal collaboration.

John Gabrielsson from Foodla shared his thoughts about two growing trends. One is the exponential increase in local food producers and another is the fast-growing trend of e-commerce for all types of food products. Foodla aim to bridge and connect local producers to the stores that offer products to consumers. The conclusion was that those who have the most knowledge about the end customers and existing distribution will be the winners. A certain "Amazonification" has taken place, meaning that those who sell the products do not have to own them.

Linda Styhre from IVL Swedish Environmental Institute gave background and brief results from the Transport Purchasing Panel's survey in previous years and described the work with the survey sent out 2020. Dan Andersson, associate professor at Chalmers, presented results from the survey on transport agreements and relationships. Analysis of the survey answers shows that 81 percent of the respondents have long-term agreements and 25 percent of the companies have collaborations that have lasted for 20 years or more. The largest agreement in terms of value covers 45 percent of the purchased transport volume. The answers also show that it is common to have a common specification of the transport service, where 48 percent specify the service together with the carrier for at least one of the areas "transport mode" and "time precision". In the group discussion that followed, pros and cons of long-term relationships was brought up, together with discussions on how to realize benefits from the relations and how to govern this in the contracts.

No workshop in 2020 can be held without including the game changer that the covid-19 pandemic is. Catrin Lammgård, senior lecturer at the Department of Business Administration at the University of Gothenburg, presented the effects we have seen so far on freight transport during the covid-19 pandemic. The predicted decline in world trade is 9.2 percent (October 6, 2020). In a GlobeScan survey in April-May 2020 it was found that 50% of the companies stated that their sustainability activities will decrease in the next 12 months. The effects of the covid-19 pandemic on transport purchases, logistics operations and priorities were discussed in smaller groups. Robustness and the ability to develop new transport solutions showed to be have grown in importance due to the pandemic. However, there had been very few instances of severe disruptions, proving the great flexibility inherent in the transport systems and among the actors.

Page manager Published: Fri 27 Nov 2020.