Last Mile’s Next Step

Last Mile, small parcel carriers will find efficiency working together.

We have seen a rise in the number of delivery vehicles on the streets over the last few years.  Reducing deliveries and changing distribution channels is going to test and change these companies. I am interested in seeing what sort of creative solutions the market creates to become more effective and resilient beyond EV or autonomous driving technologies.

The greater Seattle area, like many other regions, has a range of different delivery types taking place in communities. Some are advanced. While others are barely hanging together. The cost, convenience, and quality of deliveries vary tremendously. Produce from grocery stores, farms (CSA), eCommerce as well as traditional carriers like USPS or UPS. This doesn’t include the local couriers, bobcat deliveries, and others.  

What would happen if some of them started partnering up around combining loads?  It could enable companies to broaden delivery coverage or improve services.  A shared DC, and/or mobile or a fixed depot for cross-docking (In larger metro areas), would free up parts of the delivery process where there is not much distinguishing value-added being provided. After all, a truck and driver driving through a neighborhood puts it on a doorstep in much the same way from one carrier to another.

A package transferring from one carrier to another, like a person going from one plane or bus to another using an airport or bus station makes a lot more sense for many products than a siloed option. In fact, multi-carrier hubs would add layers of value around aggregation.

Sharing order details and managing logic and rules to coordinate cross-docking would be some of the hurdles, but absolutely something that can be developed.  

Some partnerships will develop competitive solutions that free up resources and provide a better overall solution for their customers while others free up resources to benefit in other ways. Reduced vehicle-related expenses can happen while improving customer value and revenue along with providing reduced congestion.  

I would love to hear what you think is going to be the next innovation in the Last Mile small parcel space.

Jim C

Author Since: May 9, 2022