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  May 17th, 2021 | Written by


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  • "We accelerated, expanded and adapted services in real time—particularly to support the explosive e-commerce demand."
  • "The pandemic forced our industry to challenge previously held beliefs and practices on how to best operate."
  • "Robotics and automation can help provide a defensive strategy to supply chain disruptions caused by the lack of labor."

Global Trade: Please quantify the successes Geodis racked up despite the pandemic.

Mike Honious: 2020 was no doubt marked by unimaginable tragedies, challenges, and lasting impact across the globe. From an industry perspective, the pandemic drastically disrupted traditional ways of conducting business as brands overwhelmingly migrated sales from in-person to e-commerce on an accelerated timeline to align with consumer purchasing trends.

We, therefore, saw incredible demand by our customers in 2020 to adapt their logistical operations, shifting the balance from brick and mortar to e-commerce sales. We met the demand by offering a unique suite of e-commerce services to increase visibility across channels, establish agile and flexible distribution networks, optimize IT and software capabilities, and overall help create a seamless customer service experience. This led to a substantial growth period for Geodis during the pandemic. In 2020, Geodis e-commerce orders in the U.S. increased significantly year-over-year. We’re also honored Gartner ranked Geodis in 2020 as one of the top companies with the agility and ability to adapt to customer needs. We believe this flexibility helped our clients succeed during this challenging time.

Global Trade: How did Geodis manage to pull this off when some of your competitors did not?

Mike Honious: Geodis was able to successfully support our customers’ e-commerce efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic because our expertise in this area was well established pre-pandemic. There was no need to scramble and develop services in real time. We had the e-commerce solutions and processes in place. During the pandemic, we simply accelerated and scaled aspects of our e-commerce capabilities so we could best respond to the changing landscape and demand.

Specifically, Geodis e-Commerce Logistics services drastically shorten the click-to-deliver timeline and reach more than 95 percent of U.S. customers within one to two days. This can reduce cost-to-serve by up to 15 percent compared to marketplace models. With the Geodis suite of services, customers can receive a real-time overview of inventory, manage orders across sales channels and determine the most appropriate supply source, delivery method and returns option.

We also offer Geodis MyParcel, which is a cross-border small parcel shipping service from the U.S. to 27 European countries, with guaranteed delivery in four to six days. With our e-commerce services in place pre-pandemic, our agile and scalable approach allowed us to provide reliable, transparent and cost-effective solutions during COVID-19 when brands needed to adapt rapidly.

Global Trade: What did you learn about your company and industry as a whole from the pandemic?

Mike Honious: 2020 was full of challenges, however, it ultimately made our company and industry as a whole more agile, flexible and resilient. E-commerce sales blew past previous projections and did in months what was projected to happen across several years. Because of this, the pandemic forced our industry to challenge previously held beliefs and practices on how to best operate business today.

For Geodis, we accelerated, expanded and adapted services in real time—particularly to support the explosive e-commerce demand. This will radically change how we conduct and approach business into the future as brands increasingly adopt an omnichannel mindset. Above all, I think the underlying learning for Geodis is that we are agile and ready to adjust our operations as needed to help our customers succeed no matter the current environment.

Global Trade: What challenges lie ahead, and how does Geodis plan to overcome them?

Mike Honious: For brands, one of the biggest challenges that lie ahead is predicting how and when customers will return to purchasing in stores and the impact this will have on today’s e-commerce patterns. While many shippers have historically divided their buying decisions, supply chain and fulfillment strategies based on sales channels (which generally provides a lower cost basis when done well), others have embraced omnichannel fulfillment strategies that have proven advantageous during the pandemic. We can’t predict the future, of course, but we can expect the trend toward the omnichannel approach to continue as consumers are likely to adopt a hybrid purchasing pattern of both in-store and online post-pandemic. We will continue to make strategic moves, for example, with advancements to innovative warehouse management systems, providing our customers with the visibility they need to make intelligent decisions and enabling them to deliver products to consumers wherever they are, in store or online.

Additionally, we expect to see pre-pandemic industry challenges persist, such as the labor shortage. Labor availability and rising wage pressure due to the current economic, political and public health challenges need to be addressed appropriately. Geodis in the U.S. is continuing to make investments in automation to manage safety, efficiency and cost-competitiveness in tight labor markets. As the pandemic also showed us, robotics and automation can help provide a defensive strategy to supply chain disruptions caused by the lack of labor availability.


Mike Honious is president and CEO of Geodis in Americas, the U.S. arm of the global 3PL based in France. Geodis in Americas, which is based in Brentwood, Tennessee, and has offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America, provides end-to-end supply chain solutions through three key business lines: Contract Logistics, Supply Chain Optimization and Freight Forwarding.