New trends in daily delivery give consumers options, but no guarantees
Businesses are constantly innovating, and the logistics and delivery services industry is no different. Innovative technologies such as drones, 3D printers and mobile applications like UberRUSH that connect drivers to create a network of potential delivery service providers give consumers and businesses more options than ever before.
Innovation always breeds new opportunities for some and potential cost-savings for others. But when you are seeking to have an important delivery, the most important question is likely: “How can I be sure my item, package or supplies will arrive safely and on time?”
Several recent trends in logistics have great potential for consumers. Among them is the startup mobile app Roadie, which has recently partnered with Waffle House to provide a network of meeting places for users to hand off deliveries. Similar to Uber—the on-demand car service and easy-to-use app that has been turning the taxi service world on its head in urban centers throughout the world—Roadie users will be able to meet and execute deliveries at Waffle House’s 1,750 diners across the United States. And as an added bonus, Waffle House will throw in a free waffle and drink to drivers making deliveries at their eateries.
Uber itself has experimented with expanding beyond transporting people and started delivering goods last April with its UberRUSH courier service for package delivery in parts of New York City. Other Uber innovations include their partnership with Home Depot at Christmas in 2013 to offer home delivery of Christmas trees in 10 cities across the country and delivery partnerships with Banana Republic, Benefit Cosmetics, and Piperlime. In order to encompass its new direction, the company recently changed its tagline from ”Everyone's private driver” to the much broader “Where lifestyle meets logistics.”
Companies like Amazon and Google are offering similar services in several U.S. cities as well.
Drones, 3D Printers and Driverless Cars
There are also Jetson-aged technologies such as drones, driverless cars and 3D printers, which have the potential to eliminate the driver or eliminate the need for a delivery altogether by allowing the user to create an exact replica of a product, part or tool without ever needing to call a warehouse or delivery service.
So, what are the downsides?
Certain consumers are always going to want the personal service and reliability provided by a local courier service company offering same-day delivery whom they know and trust. Like the aunt who still brings her money to the water company to pay her bill or insists on putting her check in the mail and licking the envelope, there will always be those who want to know the name of the person who is handling their products or delivering their paperwork. And for smaller regional third-party logistics companies (3PLs) such as QCS all the way to large logistics providers such as Fed Ex and UPS, there will still be many clients who consider reliability and professionalism above the latest and most hyped innovations of the day.
Those customers benefit from drivers with specialized training who have been background tested, are insured, and know how to handle deliveries of important paperwork, such as bank bags, medical products and supplies, perishable items, and everything from automotive parts to the odd-shaped furniture and mattress. And with our 30-year history in the logistics service industry, we have full warehouse and fulfillment capabilities and the latest technology to allow clients to track their shipments from door to door.
Additionally, services like UberRUSH may not have the capability to service customers around the clock like 3PLS such as QCS. UberRUSH describes their “best reliability” as being from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday while traditional couriers have the capacity customers can rely on to deliver 24 hours a day/365 days a year.
Contact us to discuss your customized logistics needs.
No matter which of these advanced technologies and applications winds up as a viable delivery solution, there is good news for consumers: With new innovation and competition comes businesses and service providers who are working harder, more efficiently and hopefully one step ahead to ensure they are providing better service and reliability to keep their existing customers happy and win new clients.