Today’s digital retail customers have extraordinarily high expectations, they expect the right product at the right price and they expect to receive it quickly, at a time and location that suits them. The response to this from online retailers, logistics and transportation companies has been to say “yes – no problem” and then to look for digital solutions for this increased demand.
So, how are logistics and transportation companies staying ahead of the game, what digital technologies enable them to collect and deliver millions of packages and parcels every year?
Here we look at the digital revolution in the parcel delivery and courier services.
The Slow Life
Twenty years ago, life was much slower, shopping online was in its infancy, Amazon and eBay were just starting out and the parcel delivery and courier sector looked tired, a little grubby and was slow. Many jobs in the sector were completed manually and the reams of paperwork that contained inventories, delivery addresses and other vital information was easy to lose and was likely full of errors.
Then of course people started buying stuff online – lots of stuff.
Supply, Demand, Expand, Innovate
Increased demand brought on by people shopping online created an opportunity for existing and new parcel delivery and courier services, they needed to expand, but not only that they needed to be faster and more efficient – enter digital technology.
Now, to keep ahead of supply and demand, the sector relies on a multitude of digital technology and equipment. GPS is de rigour and means that couriers can navigate the roads more effectively and avoid accidents and traffic jams.
Couriers and those working in company offices and despatch centres also need to communicate using digital technology in order to stay ahead of the game. Dispatch information and delivery addresses are now held digitally, as is live tracking data.
And, so the first wave of digital innovation experienced by the sector has made it much faster and more efficient. Many of the leading parcel delivery and courier services, however, are now looking to the future in order to make deliveries even faster and to become more environmentally friendly.
Future Tech Today
Much of the technology that the parcel delivery and courier sector will need to adopt in the future are already with us. Drones for example have already been tested by Amazon, who are now looking to offer deliveries in 30 minutes or less in some US states.
Electric vehicles are finding their way onto our roads and are being adopted by the sector as a more sustainable way to run their services. Inevitably, driverless vehicles will be used and online supermarket Ocado, have recently tested one such vehicle in south-east London and are expected to be an early adopter when it comes to using the technology.
Once again, the US are leading the way with driverless and drone tech, with companies like Zipline already operating a commercially in Africa, delivering medical supplies – the nature of globalisation, however, means that selling or franchising ideas brought to life in the tech industry is quick and easy and so eyes peeled for the first UK drone deliveries.