DHL, CREA hope to help brands win in the digital marketplace

29 February 2020

DHL, CREA hope to help brands win in the digital marketplace

CREA, a digital commerce enabler for brands, and DHL Supply Chain Thailand have debuted what they are billing as a world class solution for digital commerce. From left at a launch event in Bangkok are CREA founders Alessandro Piscini and Aimone Ripa di Meana, and Kevin Burrell, CEO, and Ian Wharton, general manager–ecommerce, DHL Supply Chain Thailand.

In another sign of how e-commerce is changing the logistics industry, CREA, a digital commerce enabler for brands, has joined forces with DHL Supply Chain Thailand. The two will work together to offer what they are billing as a world class solution for digital commerce.

Using CREA’s order management technology, which is integrated with the leading online marketplaces, brands will also tap into DHL’s warehouse management system and network to achieve further growth. One way to characterize this partnership is to see CREA as the more front end tech partner with DHL providing more traditional logistics.

The system the two have set up will also evaluate a logistics solution, the most cost-effective one available. It will decide on the most effective mode and will make the decision on customer’s behalf.

The system is “something that that has not been provided before: the ability to leverage infrastructure and logistics services across the market with the ability to generate demand and actually support brands,” Kevin Burrell, CEO of DHL’s Supply Chain Thailand Cluster (Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia) said at a launch event.

For both companies, this offers advantages. For DHL, it means its 4,000 trucks and massive fulfillment space – which stretches over an area equivalent to 66 football fields –now have another business line. For CREA, the company can offer services such as content management, demand generation, data insights and fulfillment technology and solutions.

CREA is also offering strategy and creative planning to provide a holistic approach, in line with offline activities which reflect the brands’ overall ambitions. Part of this is online marketing strategy and execution to drive customers to the desired platform and also app-friendly content and catalogue management.

“We help the brand optimize its content so it’s ready for e-commerce,” said Aimone Ripa di Meana, co-founder of CREA.

“Combining our technology with DHL’s expertise and experience as the global leader in providing simple and efficient supply chain solutions, we believe that we can offer brands all the resources to manage fulfillment with maximum efficiency,” he added.

DHL also brings experience in technology, as Burrell drew attention to the DHL e-fulfillment centre to fulfill orders at scale, in line with new and complex promotion mechanics and as fast as possible, and MySupplyChain, a platform which integrates data from DHL Supply Chain applications, providing customers with complete supply chain visibility via a single login.

“This application allows customers to access function of track and trace, inventory, operational performance, reporting and many more,” Burrell told Asia Cargo News.

Also involved is the DHL Transport Management Centre, a transportation management system linked to vehicle telematics to enhance fleet management, Ring Scanner, a lightweight Bluetooth-enabled wearable scanner which allows quick barcode scanning and collaborative robots.


For DHL, though, the deal offers two other advantages beyond parading its tech and procedures.

Peak periods such as November 11 (known variously as Singles Day, Double 11 or 双十一) and June 6 (Taobao’s mid-year promotional activity, the Taobao 66 Festival) not only create extra work for companies such as DHL (with some 2.8 billion packages moving on Singles Day alone) but also a multiplying factor on normal demand.

Using CREA’s tech allows DHL to cope with better with such surges and to offer complementary services to existing customers.

“The partnership is about the combination of services to new and existing customers. CREA’s offerings combined with DHL’s offering enables a more complete offer to a company looking to grow in the e-commerce space,” Burrell said.

There is a similar approach when asked about how the relationship between the two companies will operate referring to a contractual environment and “being strategic partners to our customers.”

One detail Burrell did add was that the CREA and DHL business development and operations teams will work closely, holding regular meetings to review operational performance, systems, key performance indicators and strategy and commercial pipeline alignment.

The companies are less forthcoming about how much extra business the partnership will generate. “We expect growth. We expect much more,” said Burrell, without giving any figures.

The partnership aims to leverage the seemingly never-ending rise of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, which is undergoing a radical transformation in the way consumers shop.

Digital commerce in the region is expected to reach more than US$150 billion in 2025, a 50% increase from the 2018 prediction, according to a study by Google Temasek. Leading this shift towards digital commerce are the young, mobile-first generation in Southeast Asia, where 90% connect to the internet via a mobile device.

This is particularly true in Thailand, where consumers are demonstrating a high propensity to buy directly from brands online, making direct brand engagement with consumers more crucial than ever.


Michael Mackey

Law firms

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