Although Amazon is involved in perhaps the highest profile technology effort to improve distribution times and service by using remotely controlled helicopter drones, several other companies are also bolstering their delivery options to bring customers better service options or lower costs.
Here are some of top plans to make distribution in the 21st century more efficient.
Move in With the Manufacturer
It makes a lot of sense to be as close as possible to your suppliers if you are doing a large volume business with them. Amazon.com already has an extensive global warehouse network and yet they surprised many people by extending their chain when they moved in with Proctor and Gamble. The idea is that they can operate a warehouse type of kiosk that allows them to service their customers immediately without having to wait for resupply from Proctor and Gamble.
Maya Botticelli, a Mediterranean Mexican food company is quietly signing agreements to put their own distribution network throughout the Southwestern United States. The difference from a conventional distribution network is that their products will all move within the channel and on to grocery store customers using trucks with electric motors, driving delivery costs down and making their food products more immune to prices swings due to gas price fluctuations. Electric delivery vehicles are still a work in progress for many manufacturers, but it appears that companies that use warehouses are willing to alter their plans in order to be able to leverage the technology as it exists today.
Offer Extended Delivery Service
It used to be the case that unless you were moving between residences, it would be difficult to find a service that would deliver freight to companies or residences and bring the freight inside. Today, that service is available from several companies. According to Freightrun.com’s freight quote calculator, several firms now offer a deluxe type of delivery that makes it easier for offices or homes that do not have loading docks. The delivery people from whichever company that you select will deliver the entire shipment to the inside of your home or business establishment, regardless of which floor they are expected to deliver it on. There is no weight limit for the service, although the products are usually expected to ship on skids or in crates or boxes.
Offer Same-day Delivery of Purchased Products
This feature is interesting for many people because the need for companies to provide this service is one of the most debated topics in the industry. There are statistics on both sides to show that customers will or will not be willing to pay a higher cost for the delivery to happen the same day. Nonetheless, according to Steve Banker of Logisticsviewpoints.com, there are companies like Shutl that are poised to go beyond same day delivery and offer delivery of any product purchased within 90 minutes. The less than one day model is not based on warehouse infrastructure, instead relying upon bricks and mortar retail stores to fill orders.