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Last Mile To Final Yard – Bridging The Gap

The Amazon effect, Tesco’s recent announcement of trialling futuristic drone delivery, robots, automation, and augmented reality, are all prevalent within the constantly evolving warehouse of the future.

In the age of an eCommerce boom, where technology is king, it will therefore come as little surprise that new supply chain-related patent applications are published daily. Innovations which, if made reality could drastically re-shape the landscape of logistics as we know it.

The Coronavirus pandemic has played a large role in this disruptive supply chain shift.

Many businesses which once relied on an omnichannel model of delivery, are now restructuring their businesses to supply high eCommerce demand and continue to successfully provide a robust retail experience for the consumer, albeit online, and throughout this global pandemic. Where once traditional post-purchase strategies and delivery methods worked well, newer processes have been initiated to continue to meet consumer’s expectations.

So just what could be available to the consumer and manufacturer very soon?

One of the newest innovations pending patent is UPS’s phone location tracking. Once upon a time, track and trace technology was the accepted and convenient way to ensure you never missed a delivery again. Yet as technology develops, the new way to accept deliveries may soon involve allowing delivery companies such as UPS, to use real-time tracking of your location via your car GPS or Social Media accounts. Coined ‘Mobile Delivery’, this patent-pending application could enable the consumer to provide alternative locations to collect their parcels.

Whilst substitute delivery methods exist including having parcels delivered to different locations, or allowing a recipient to sign on someone’s behalf; using secure code verification, and preventing multiple trips, this dynamic updating of dispatch routes could save both time and money not only for consumers but also for carriers. Whilst this patent-pending innovation hinges on consumers allowing access to a lot of their personal data, this is ultimately UPS’s way of aiming to replace existing inefficient carrier routes.

In an extension of the last mile, this is not the first, nor will it be the last technological innovation to be proposed and potentially patented, to aid ever more successful supply chain management in future.

Fast forward, and logistics is developing the last yard, taking delivery to the next level. The last yard takes the supply chain to the very end, by placing products exactly where the end-user needs them.

Preventing missed deliveries and customer data tracking, the last yard introduces the idea of the delivery driver accessing the end user’s location themselves, to place the items within the required point of use. Saving time and money, it also protects the integrity of the products themselves. Removing the risk of theft and spoil (especially for fresh food deliveries) the items are placed on behalf of the consumer, in their designated safe location.

Adding value, and offering a niche service, delivering items into the home, not just to the door is a slowly becoming a more popular delivery option. It is not the first attempt at streamlining supply chains, and certainly won’t be the last.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, the economy and society, our supply chains will endure many changes. Both last yard and Mobile Delivery are perfect marketing opportunities for logistics providers to better assimilate themselves with their customer’s wants and needs, in a time where we are relying on them the most. Practising social distancing, and working from home means that many are depending more so on eCommerce and home deliveries now, than ever before.

Yet whilst convenience and technology are still king, there is of course always a price to pay for new and novel improvements. If the consumer is willing to sacrifice a little more of their personal data and pay an additional fee, they can be sure to be delivered a service which goes above and beyond traditional eCommerce delivery methods.

With the patents pending, and eCommerce supply chains developing day by day, the possibilities for upgrading our carrier and delivery services are more full of potential than they have ever been. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your traditional warehouse layouts and supply chain operations, and prepare for the future.

Find out more about how SCN can help to future-proof your business plans and warehouse design. Email: Or call: 01423 815 941

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