Last mile delivery is considered the most important factor of making it in e-commerce and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Densely populated urban areas can approach the challenge as a part of smart city development and reconstruction. They can create warehousing systems, locker hubs, common fridges, smart elevators and courier robots. In rural areas with long distances and poor infrastructure, we need very different kinds of solutions: robust autonomous vans, drones and their support systems, etc. The cellular connectivity and battery duration of vehicles are still main obstacles for getting the last mile right. It is also likely that all scenarios will involve a human workforce that will need to find the work meaningful and financially feasible.
Although we can imagine the parts of the solutions, many details need to be designed. How to get automated vehicles and robots to deliver groceries as close to home as possible? How to keep the cold chain intact? How to recharge batteries in rural settings? How to create a livelihood for people needed as a part of the delivery chain? Which business models will survive: those of the retail companies, courier managers or technology companies? What will premium services look like?
Customers want their products ASAP. The logistics game is more and more a network-of-networks game - best courier managers (Uber, Wolt, Zalando, etc.) and/or technology companies (independent trucking, drones) will prevail. Current incumbents (Posti, DHL, FedEx) will have a hard time staying relevant.
- Build new ecosystems and partnerships to provide a holistic customer experience
- Build new business models and consider how might all the ecosystem partners get the best out of the collaboration.