Working in logistics makes you realize the impact that e-commerce deliveries have on the environment.
On-demand delivery vans, serving same-day, two hours or same-hour shipping, already jam the streets of most hyper-industrialized countries and the trend is going to rise and rise again. New regulations and disruptive solutions are currently invoked by the biggest cities. London, by the admission of its own Mayor, is on the verge of a traffic collapse.
Many startups are working to find viable solutions. Some of them are indeed providers of on-demand deliveries. It’s a case rarely seen: being called to search the solution to a problem born out of your own activities.
Nowadays Consumers want same-day and it would be easy to finger-point Amazon for that: people didn’t know they wanted it, before it gave it to them. The fact is that Amazon has not yet presented short term solutions. Apart from drones.
Let’s be frank: we love the idea of drones, and of self-driving cars and even of cute six-wheeled robots. They may be the future alright, but there’s a good chance they won’t really happen for years, even decades.
The problem everybody’s trying to fix had to be fixed yesterday.
So no robots. Click and collect is already fading out of fashion, then we have pick-up points, people delivering to the trunk of your parked car or even getting inside your home when you’re not, via smart-locks.
As commendable as these solutions are they’ll never entirely replace traditional home-delivery-when-you’re-home. Why? Because they’re niche solutions: they work for a lucky few. They can be part of the solution (by lowering the number of missed deliveries) but not THE solution.
So, Mr Milkman: what do you propose? Will you be the saviour of our wounded Planet?
No, I’m not. But I try hard.
Here’s where we stand:
First: we make sure that we serve Clients on our end only with electric vehicles. They ARE the future and they’re already here.
Second: we incentivize our Clients to consolidate deliveries, by not differentiating prices based on volume or weight. You’re waiting for five packages? If they’re not urgent have them delivered together.
Third: we offer deliveries by appointment and narrow time-windows. This means less to no missed deliveries.
Fourth: we employ a powerful route planning software that lets us optimize our driver’s work and monitor time wasted and idling times.
Is this enough? It’s never enough. But it’s a start.