The war for speed has already begun. The world of logistics is involved in a race to reduce delivery times. As samples, parcel deliveries on the same day and even the arrival at the paleteria of deliveries before noon, of which we are pioneers. Today we want to analyze the causes of this acceleration and what this increase in urgent transport means.
Urgent transport, a growing need
Broadly speaking, we can divide merchandise recipients into two large types: individuals and companies. But, despite this division, both are demanding a shorter period between the moment they place the order and the moment they receive it. Let’s see why.
Supply chains are increasingly fine-tuned and rely on delivery times that are, in addition to being shorter, more reliable. The implementation, in more and more companies, of ‘just in time’ systems has increased the pressure on logisticians and carriers, who need to continually reinvent themselves.
For example, under these conditions, the use of express pallets has been spreading, to meet the needs of companies that need to send pallets in Spain quickly but do not reach the groupage volumes to fill trucks. A market niche that has grown strongly in recent years.
The rush has also increased the importance of traceability. For companies, it is essential to be able to know where their merchandise is at all times, to ensure that their supply chain is not going to suffer shocks and make this information available to their customers.
Another trend that is affecting transport speed is the desire of companies to reduce stocks and storage. Most companies try to keep as little material in storage as possible in order to save costs, and the increasing speed of transportation allows them this flexibility.
In the case of individual recipients, ecommerce is undoubtedly the epicenter of this battle for speed. And the pressure on delivery times exerted by large multinationals ends up being replicated in small electronic businesses, which do not want to be left behind.
Urgent transport is also the result of times in which we demand to satisfy all our wishes practically immediately. If the plane made the world smaller by allowing us to travel much faster, the internet has connected our living rooms -and our pockets- with any store in the world. We don’t just want one thing; we want it now.
The tightness of the schedules also influences. We need to balance work, family, friends, sports, leisure… And we try to find time anywhere. Going shopping or choosing new sneakers takes much longer than doing it in their digital versions. And companies know that the more delivery options they give to the customer, the more chances they have of attracting him.
The optimization dilemma
Logistics companies face two challenges: manage to reduce transit and do it profitably. Higher speed implies a series of requirements that have an impact on costs. And sometimes the user is not willing to pay it; especially in ecommerce, since the Internet abounds with the theory of “everything is free”.
The less time there is to make the delivery, the more difficult it is to consolidate the vehicles. That is, optimize them so that they can carry the largest possible number of shipments. On the contrary, the greater the delivery margin, the easier it is to design routes that reduce costs and kilometers.
Same-day deliveries, for example, mean that merchandise has to be stored very close to the recipients. This implies the need to have more facilities, instead of being able to centralize in larger warehouses. While a warehouse in Madrid can supply the whole of Spain within 24 hours, it will be impossible for it to deliver 800 kilometers in just a couple of hours.
It also influences that smaller vehicles and even bicycles are being used in the delivery of more express parcels. This reduces the load they can transport before having to return to the ship for more merchandise, being less efficient. This means that its radius of action has to be smaller.
Knowing how to combine these variables will be key to the success and sustainability of these shipments. We need that, in addition to making them possible, they are also profitable for everyone involved in the process. Because everything indicates that the need for urgent freight transport will continue to grow in the near future.