Interview with Dana von der Heide, Parcel Perform
Ahead of the World Mail & Express Europe (WMX Europe) Conference in Dublin, we caught up with Dana von der Heide, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Parcel Perform. Dana will be speaking at WMX Europe 2019 and offers her thoughts on the conference and the future of the industry.
This interview was originally published on Post & Parcel in June 2019.
P&P – Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.
DvdH – I’m Dana von der Heide, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Parcel Perform. Before founding Parcel Perform, I worked in various global strategy and regional business development roles in international logistics. That’s how I met my co-Founder Arne Jeroschewski. Given our combined logistics and e-commerce background, we saw a huge opportunity to leverage technology to support the growing e-commerce transactions, and in 2016, we founded Parcel Perform.
Parcel Perform is a global SaaS company for the e-commerce logistics industry. We are the leading carrier-independent parcel tracking platform with over 600 logistics carriers worldwide integrated on our platform.
As you know, many e-commerce merchants rely on 3PLs to fulfill and deliver orders and they lack control and visibility over the logistics process. The experience for end-customers takes a backseat in this process, as merchants simply do not have a better way other than to refer to multiple carrier pages. With limited standardization on last mile data, there was also no easy way to track the performance of all their logistics carriers.
As delivery is a huge component of the customer experience in e-commerce, we saw that merchants were losing an excellent opportunity to excel in this area. We founded Parcel Perform to address this and help e-commerce merchants deliver a great post-checkout experience.
Today, we are pleased to say that we know thousands of retailers and many carriers worldwide.
P&P – What will you be speaking about at WMX Europe this year?
DvdH – How logistics and technology play a huge and defining role in the e-commerce customer experience. I’m looking forward to share more about Parcel Perform and the success cases of the carriers and retailers we work with.
P&P – What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing your business today?
DvdH – I think we face more opportunities than challenges. As a technology platform, we now have a wealth of knowledge about logistics data, trends, consumer behaviour, etc, from all over the world. The biggest challenge for our customer is to get the right data to embark on a journey to innovation to ultimately make smarter, more informed decisions for their e-commerce business and improve customer experience. We believe that with our unique standardization of logistics data, we are in a great position to help them. Very exciting times ahead!
P&P – Apart from the presentations and content, what aspect of WMX Europe are you most looking forward to?
DvdH – I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded innovators and discuss more with the established players in the industry! We are also working very closely with the IMDA Locker Alliance project here in Singapore. As the chosen platform provider for this project and we’re looking forward to seeing them there and share our joined experience with more colleagues from the logistics industry.
P&P – How has the post and parcel industry changed in the past 5 years? What do you predict will happen in the next 5 to 10 years?
DvdH – The last 5 years have been a phase of awakening for the post and parcel industry, with many players starting their innovation and digitization journey to meet the new demands of the e-commerce consumer who want faster, more intuitive, more convenient delivery options.
I believe the next 5-10 years will see the introduction of more innovative solutions by traditional players, as they move from the testing phase towards execution.
At the same time, with the continued rise of e-commerce, the next 5-10 years will see a more open post and parcel industry – more new startups will be attracted to enter the market while the 100+ startups already established will either stabilize their foothold or exit.
We are still in a phase of growth and change, and we will probably see a more stable industry in the following decade. I truly believe in the power of collaboration between the established logistics companies, the upcoming startups as well as other governmental bodies such as IMDA who strive to improve the logistics experience together.
P&P – What are the most critical changes that we must make to face the future effectively?
DvdH – We at Parcel Perform learned together with our clients that the first step for innovation is to always have the right data in place. Many of the trends we are hearing about – Machine Learning, Blockchain, Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence are exciting. The critical path to embark on them is to get your data collected and standardized.
At the same time, embracing change requires a concerted effort and mindset within the organisations to successfully drive this. I urge logistics companies to establish a data mindset in all their departments – may it be operations, commercial or IT functions. I also like to encourage them to look externally while embracing innovation as it is very often an outside-in approach from different industries that helps unveil new perspectives.
P&P – What is the most interesting trend for 2019?
DvdH – Data, for me, is the most interesting as it has the ability to predict future behaviour, observe trends, and help make smarter, calculated decisions. At Parcel Perform, we have witnessed this ourselves and we are heavily investing into machine learning, allowing customers to predict key KPIs such as estimated delivery times based on real time data across all their carriers. Very exciting times!
P&P – What’s the one piece of advice would you give to companies starting out in your sector?
DvdH – When we first started out, we focused on hiring great people and scaling the business with state of the art technology. I can’t stress enough how our team and a stable, scalable infrastructure is building the backbone for future success and the foundation for further growth.
Especially in the logistics industry I believe in the power of diversity within your teams – bring onboard more people with different backgrounds and lets make sure to break the glass ceiling, especially for my fellow female colleagues in the industry.
P&P – How can postal organisations adapt in the face of falling mail volumes? Can they really compete with new industry disruptors and faster moving global operators?
DvdH – Postal organizations have an excellent first player advantage with the widest geographical reach and well-established delivery networks in the country. The challenge here is to digitize and innovate to meet the rising consumer expectations, and those who do will definitely have an edge over other players. The first step will be to understand the movement of goods and demand of the consumers by looking into the data!
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