LAST MILE ECOSYSTEM IN YEARS TO COME
More and more people are starting to get familiar with the term “last-mile” which is commonly used in supply chain management and transportation planning – to describe the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination.
“Last-mile” delivery is an increasingly studied field as the number of business to consumer deliveries grow especially from e-commerce companies in freight transportation and ride-sharing companies in personal transportation.
COVID 19 pandemic has made the “last-mile” ecosystem a very hot topic –
- Consumers order far more (if not almost all) things online, expecting more control and faster delivery.
- Technologies, such as droids and drones, are shaking up entire delivery chains.
- Companies like Uber Freight and Postmates are trying to change the dynamics of the competitive landscape.
However, not all are moving in a progressive direction. Inner cities are struggling with traffic congestion and air pollution due to the increasing number of delivery vehicles, their emissions, and second-lane parking. Many city governments predict that before 2024, inner-cities will be dangerously clogged due to the linear nature of these developments and their interwovenness.
Companies servicing the last mile ecosystem will need to evaluate the competitive environment (again) by asking the right questions: Who is my ally? Who is my competitor? Which new system will be the benchmark regionally, and which ones internationally, if any? Which regulatory city interventions offer maximum impact? What will be the role of data and advanced analytics in the future?
The World Economic Forum sketches a scenario that includes electric vehicle regulation for inner-city areas, deliveries during night-time and before/after working hours, effective data-based connectivity solutions such as dynamic re-routing and load-pooling, as well as multi-brand parcel lockers and boxes. And this is just the first step.
However, we need to create the future… now.
ADK INSIGHTS believes that governments need to open up and engage in clean, multi-modal mobility, and adopt harmonized regulations for autonomous driving and inner-city e-mobility. This will help automotive OEMs and logistic providers to better allocate R&D investment and accelerate the adoption of sustainable supply chain technologies.
So far, it seems that all relevant parties (institutional, public or private) are throwing responsibilities on each other and no decisions are being made, even though there is an urgent need for them.
Also, the use of data and advanced analytics is a vital enabler for interventions such as effective load-pooling (picking up or dropping off goods in automated parcel lockers) and real-time traffic control. Joint data standards and effective data sharing/open-source system architecture will bring benefits to us all.
ADK Insights has conducted many projects for mobility solutions worldwide and we would be happy to discuss the future of multi-modal mobility with you.
Dam van Benten
25 years research methodology innovator. ADK Insights’ Head of Mobility research division. Specializes in sample recruitment, online consumer access, selection and screening, fieldwork quality control and reporting.