Scaling your urban deliveries to win the e-commerce race04/20/2022
How tech-led solutions can help grow your urban deliveries, allowing fleet managers to better cope with the combined challenges of a labor shortage and huge market growth
Buying more vans is one answer to the question of how to deliver more packages as e-commerce grows, but it can’t be the only solution. Aside from the challenge of finding enough drivers, e-commerce growth has gone hand-in-hand with increased competitive pressure. New e-commerce business models, such as rapid delivery or micro-fulfillment, are springing up all the time. To stay ahead of the curve, fleets need to learn to scale up the deliveries they make with the resources they have. That means using tech-led solutions to make every delivery van and courier more efficient.
The BrightDrop Trace electrified delivery cart (eCart) is a perfect example of a tech-enabled device that improves efficiency. In an initial pilot, Trace allowed couriers to handle up to 25% more packages per day. These results indicate that you can use eCarts to help make up a shortfall in couriers and achieve greater results without increasing your fleet size.
Are you equipped to cope with the growth in e-commerce?
According to data firm Statista, U.S. e-commerce retail revenue will grow from $768 billion in 2021 to $1.3 trillion in 2025. That’s going to mean a requirement for a lot more couriers. And hiring them isn’t going to be easy in the context of a historic labor shortage. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of December 2021, there were 10.9 million job openings in the country. Meanwhile, the numbers of people looking for work are at record lows.
For e-commerce companies in the here and now, these issues cause real challenges. Packages are arriving late, or damaged, or not arriving at all, and overburdened couriers are quitting for new roles. Meanwhile, there are difficulties in cities as drivers are forced to unload vans overflowing with packages out onto the sidewalk to sort them, which lends itself to a host of problems.
Rolling out the eCart
A Roadshow video review of Trace showcases how the eCart makes life easier for your couriers by helping reduce package touches, human error, and physical strain. Additionally, modular shelving allows efficient use of the eCart’s full capacity and helps protect packages from damage. The shelving can also be removed to fit unusually-sized packages.
Because the eCart has electrified propulsion, it allows couriers to easily carry large amounts of parcels with them on each stop of the van: up to 200 lbs. at a time. According to a recent pilot study, this reduces the van’s on-road stops by 10%*, saving significant amounts of time and also reducing the chances of vans picking up parking tickets.
Connectivity is key
Constant connectivity is crucial to efficient last-mile delivery. Our software platform** gives managers access to a steady stream of data-driven insights. Real-time location data means you can always know where your eCarts are, helping ensure optimal utilization of every eCart and allowing you to better plan the most efficient delivery drop route. Meanwhile, the option for the customer to store and analyze all delivery data means that processes can be continuously evaluated and optimized. Security is also a vital consideration. The eCart is lockable, so parcels are safer during delivery rounds. Additionally, if stolen, the cart can be remotely disabled by the asset management software.
Couriers just love it
Finally, couriers who have tried it love the eCart – a crucial consideration given how important it is to retain your people during this labor shortage. They love it because it limits physical strain with electric propulsion, because it can be transported by a number of methods from vans to bike trailers, because it is highly maneuverable, and because it can be wheeled right up to the customer. This means couriers are far less likely to need to lift individual parcels at any point except when handing them off.
*According to internal GM research. May vary based on use case.
** Separate subscription may be required