Contemporary Trends in Grocery Retail Logistics:

How Digitalisation Transforms Grocery Retail to Optimise Supply Chains

It is anticipated that developments in the urban grocery retail supply chain infrastructure will intensify in the coming years. Last mile logistics is regarded as a battlefield for food supply chain operators, and the use of digital technologies can be a competitive weapon in the arsenal of food supply chain members. 

Based on recent research by Professor Michael Bourlakis, Cranfield University, and interviews with industry experts:

  • Guido Schierhofer, Supply Chain Director, Intersnack SE
  • Gabriel Thomsen, Global Customer Service & Logistics, Heineken
  • Michel Haenen, Sales Director, Transporeon
  • Gerry Daalhuisen, Tribe Lead Dock Scheduling & Yard Management, Transporeon
  • Neil Ashworth, Non-Executive Director and Expert in Retail Logistics

The report casts light on major trends emerging in grocery retail transport logistics: Digitalisation & Consumer-led Innovations, Real Time Data Visibility, Warehouse and Last Mile Logistics, and From Competition and Disintermediation to Sustainable Collaboration.

Use this report to:

Revolutionize your transportation management

Articulate your business case for a transportation management platform that centralises multiple integrated and interconnected digital tools. 

Break down siloes in logistics

Use this research-based evidence to further justify your business needs for digitalisation and prove the argument for breaking down siloes in operational logistics.

Boost competitive advantage

Gain factual insight into how to boost competitive advantage with digital tools designed to manage inbound and outbound logistics more efficiently. 

Improve visibility and operational planning

Inform the necessary steps to achieving better visibility and operational planning.


Collaborate for success

Despite the challenges in data utilisation and sharing within grocery supply chains, significant progress has been made over the past few years with the emergence of appropriate digital platforms which help to aggregate data, provide further visibility in the grocery supply chain and support both large and small companies. 

Transportation by nature is a collaborative effort, where true efficiency happens with interoperability built in between enterprises rather than within a single organisation. To move freight in the most efficient and sustainable way, grocery supply chain members need to work together to harness the power of real-time visibility and to gain insights to aid effective decision-making. In this sense, digital platform solutions that enable collaboration, automation and real-time insights can bring logistics in sync with the world. 


This report was based on a series of interviews with senior managers commanding significant experience from the grocery retail sector. Secondary data, including published reports, were also considered. These interviews were conducted by Professor Michael Bourlakis from July 2022 – October 2022 and they involved the following interviewees: Guido Schierhofer from Intersnack SE, Gabriel Thomsen from Heineken, Michel Haenen and Gerry Daalhuisen from Transporeon, and Neil Ashworth who is a Non-Executive Director and an expert in retail logistics, and other senior retail managers who chose to remain anonymous.

About the author

Professor Michael Bourlakis is the Director of Research for Cranfield School of Management and the Director of the Centre of Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management. He is an internationally renowned and established authority in logistics and supply chain management especially in food, retail and sustainable supply chains. Read more 

Download the report

Fill out the form below and we’ll send you a copy of the report.

Our solutions for your transport and logistic needs.

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Time Slot Management for Retail

Time Slot Management for Retail
  • Increase handling capacity by up to 20%
  • Reduce driver wait times by up to 40%
  • Shorten loading times by up to 60 minutes
  • Audit and legal security
  • Completely documented processes

Dock & Yard Management Hub

Real-Time Yard Management

Real-Time Yard Management
  • Improve overall visibility and ability to predict changes.
  • Combine yard, transport, and warehouse management.
  • Automate arrivals, check-ins, and call-offs.
  • Avoid costs and fees caused by idle and inefficient processes.
  • Monitor, measure, and improve KPIs.

Visibility Hub


  • Reduce check calls and automate processes.
  • Increase performance and customer satisfaction.
  • Reduce wait and dwell times with more accurate ETAs.
  • Increase your on-time performance and avoid penalties  
  • Reduce CO2 emissions and empty mileage.