FedEx acquires 1,000 electric vehicles

FedEx has announced it is expanding its fleet to add 1,000 Chanje V8100 electric delivery vehicles.  FedEx is purchasing 100 of the vehicles from Chanje Energy Inc and leasing 900 from Ryder System, Inc.
The purpose-built electric vehicles will be operated by FedEx Express for commercial and residential pick-up and delivery services in the United States.
“FedEx continually seeks new ways to maximise operational efficiency, minimise impacts and find innovative solutions through the company’s Reduce, Replace, Revolutionise approach to sustainability,” said Mitch Jackson, FedEx Chief Sustainability Officer.  “Our investment in these vehicles is part of our commitment to that approach of serving our customers and connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully.”
The vehicles are manufactured by FDG in Hangzhou, China, and purchased through Chanje Energy Inc., the company’s subsidiary for global business.  Ryder System, Inc. will provide support services for all of the vehicles.
The EVs can travel more than 150 miles when fully charged and have the potential to help FedEx save two thousand gallons of fuel while avoiding 20 tons of emissions per vehicle each year. The maximum cargo capacity is around 6,000 pounds. All of the EVs will be operated in California.
FedEx has been using all-electric vehicles as part of its pickup-and-delivery fleet since 2009.  We believe that wider adoption of alternative-fuel, electric and hybrid electric vehicles will play a key role in reducing global emissions, while diversifying and expanding renewable energy solutions.
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First-ever worldwide drones standards unveiled

The ISO Draft International Standards for Drone Operations have been released for public consultation, with the final adoption of the world’s first drone standards expected in 2019.
The rules, which form a voluntary code of practice, are the first set of international standards for drones.
“Most drone makers are doing everything they can, but some don’t use existing materials. They may not come from an aviation background, for example. Everybody across the industry believes drones can be safe and of great benefit to mankind. Operators and service providers alike are keen to establish a baseline,” Robert Garbett, ISO drone expert said.
The standards include a flying “etiquette” around no-fly zones, geo-fencing technology that can stop flights in restricted areas, flight logging requirements as well as training and maintenance standards.
They also call on flyers to keep drone hardware and software up to date and have a human monitor for all flights.
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Gen Z wants perfect CX and wants it now

Online shipping technology company Neopost Shipping has published a survey report that highlights the need for shipping to contribute to ‘customer experience’ (CX), with 98% of young consumers abandoning their carts online due to shipping-related friction.
The report Great Expectations: Shipping, CX & Gen Z underlines the influence that shipping has on e-commerce conversion and retention. It features survey data from retailers and online consumers in four countries: United States, United Kingdom, France and Australia.
“Gen Z is changing the e-commerce playbook by challenging retailers to elevate the customer experience. Shipping is a key element of online shopping, so retailers who are adept at working through its complexity to leverage it as a revenue-driving CX tool will reap great returns,” said senior vice president Americas at Neopost Shipping Matthew Mullen.
Key findings of the report include:

  • Cart abandonment strongly influenced by the lack of shipping options: 98% of Gen Z consumers have stated that they will abandon cart if a preferred shipping option is unavailable to them at checkout, with 44% opting to then buy from a competing online brand, 33% attempting to visit the brick and mortar store of the same brand, and 21% planning to visit a mall to buy the items.
  • Retailers are not keeping up with Gen Z shipping demands: Compared to the previous year, Gen Z’s willingness to pay for new types of shipping services such as hyperlocal (1-3 hours), same-day and weekend or after-hours delivery has increased. Additionally, Gen Z’s demand for these consumer-centric shipping services is significantly higher compared to the average consumer, yet only up to a fifth of retailers offer them.
  • Strong appetite by Gen Z for speed-based delivery services: Gen Z is more committed compared to the average consumer to shop online if retailers can have their orders shipped faster. 71% of Gen Z versus 56% of average consumers will increase their basket size to meet the spend threshold for free hyperlocal delivery (1-3 hours), while 44% of Gen Z versus 25% of average consumers will shop more online if next-day delivery was available.

“Gen Z is instant gratification personified,” said Mr Mullen, “In a market where the likes of Amazon are pushing the boundaries on what a great shipping experience looks like, retailers rarely get a second chance with young and savvy consumers who won’t think twice about abandoning brands that cannot provide the shipping choice and convenience they desire.
“It’s a known fact that shipping and fulfillment can be operationally challenging for many retailers. Instead of taking on the burden of building everything from the ground up, (retailers should) leverage the supply chain innovations that are in the market – such as updating your technology stack with a shipping software platform, trialling smart parcel lockers, and accelerating the process of getting online orders out the door with automated packing machines,” Mullen said.
The Great Expectations report includes new insights on how shipping can motivate or detract Gen Z from online shopping, why shipping can drive Gen Z to abandon cart and buy from a competing retailer, what retailers can do to convert and retain Gen Z through shipping, and how marketplaces like Amazon are winning Gen Z over with their approach to shipping.

Embrace transparency – from MHD magazine

Walter Scremin

Australia Post recently announced it wants to use Uber-style tracking for parcels. It’s an interesting and possibly courageous move because there are few similarities between parcel delivery and ride sharing services.
But the development raises some interesting key question for logistics divisions, such as: how would our business look with Uber-style tracking? Will more transparency make us look good to our customers, or make us look silly?
Parcel tracking does not offer the same near-instant gratification available to Uber’s ride-sharing customers. When Uber customers place a request, they are quickly alerted to a nearby Uber vehicle and can watch its progress to the customer’s address. In urban areas this procedure takes only minutes. Can a parcel delivery provide such an instant response?
Consider the risks if parcel delivery customers are paying attention and seeing their parcel taking the ‘scenic route’ to the destination, parked for an inordinate period, or constantly dropping back to the depot. Greater scrutiny has potential to backfire on inefficient companies.
We know from experience that even experienced logistics divisions, which consider themselves efficient, are often shocked by what is revealed under technology’s cold gaze. They may find systems that are sound in principle, fall down in practice: this may include obvious issues such as poor communications across the business, drivers doubling up on delivery routes, or drivers backtracking due to overlooked or misplaced items. No doubt Australia Post is working hard to ensure systems and processes stack up to this increased scrutiny.

“Technology can improve efficiency in any-sized delivery transport division – but only if you continue to monitor and nurture it.”

But the benefits from increased transparency easily outweigh the risks. I know auto parts companies with small delivery fleets that use telematics to provide their customers with total transparency – essentially already using Uber-style tracking. Some of these fleets may only have three or four vehicles and use the technology to gain a competitive edge on the big guys. Their customers love this transparency, and the technology has helped make the business better.
Efficiency in delivery fleets cannot be understated, with both B2B and B2C businesses currently engaged in a ‘logistics arms race’ of ever-shorter delivery times – for example, retailer Cue recently launched a three-hour delivery service throughout Australia; the Iconic also offers three-hour deliveries for Sydney and same-day to Melbourne metro; JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman offer same-day delivery; and Amazon offers one-day deliveries.
We’re also seeing tighter delivery times in B2B industries such as auto parts, catering, building materials and other sectors where there are opportunities to improve
Those who are less efficient will be left behind. Yet there is evidence many fleets are lagging on efficiency by not properly engaging with technology: Teletrac Navman research on its UK operations showed 27% of fleet organisations are interacting with the telematics technology on a daily basis – not bad, but doesn’t this also suggest 73% of organisations aren’t so attentive? A 2015 ACA Research survey showed that while most large fleets use telematics, the take-up falls dramatically for fleets between six and 25 vehicles (49 per cent), and for fleets with less than six trucks the take-up was just 18 per cent.
Technology can improve efficiency in any-sized delivery transport division – but only if you continue to monitor and nurture it.
Consider how technology is used for vehicle maintenance. In the past, logistics firms would act on maintenance when a vehicle broke down. Now, technology allows us to be proactive rather than reactive by tracking vehicles and anticipating maintenance schedules with greater accuracy. The same proactive approach can apply throughout logistics, not just maintenance.
Currently, too many delivery fleets treat their telematics systems like a gym membership – they sign up with great enthusiasm only to drop off three months’ later, as interest wanes. Maybe the return on investment is not immediately apparent, or maybe they find it difficult to keep up with the data produced. Technology’s many benefits are often found beyond the bottom line: customer service may not immediately show up as a ROI, yet may foster greater customer loyalty.
Technology should improve delivery times but also lead to increased professionalism, and more accuracy in delivering items in full, undamaged and on time. These may take time to track as a measurable ROI.
Responsive and efficient logistics businesses understand telematics and related technologies are what you make them. Those prepared to put in the effort and focus on efficiency – often on a daily basis – will shine under greater scrutiny, impress their customers and remain competitive.
Walter Scremin is general manager of Ontime Delivery Solutions, developer of Ontime Earth. For more information visit www.ontimegroup.com.au.
 

More than half in under two hours by 2028

Zebra Technologies Corporation has revealed the results of the Asia-Pacific edition of its Future of Fulfilment Vision Study, a body of research analysing how manufacturers, transport and logistics (T&L) firms and retailers are preparing to meet the growing needs of the on-demand economy.
Manufacturing and T&L global director at Zebra Technologies Jim Hilton said: “Driven by the always-connected, tech-savvy shopper, retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies are collaborating and swapping roles in uncharted ways to meet shoppers’ omnichannel product fulfillment and delivery expectations. Zebra’s Future of Fulfillment Vision Study found that 95 per cent of survey respondents in Asia-Pacific agreed that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”
Key survey findings

  • 67 per cent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 55 per cent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028. In addition, 96 per cent of survey respondents expect to use crowdsourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to complete a specific order by 2028.
  • 92 per cent of the respondents cited capital investment and operating costs of implementing an omnichannel operation as a key challenge. Only 42 per cent of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omnichannel level today. In contrast, an estimated 73 per cent of consumers shop across multiple channels.
  • Seven in ten surveyed executives agree that more retailers will continue to turn stores into fulfilment centres that accommodate product returns. By 2023, 99 per cent of retailers plan to implement buy online/pick up in store to allow a more seamless fulfilment process.
  • In APAC, 93 per cent of respondents agreed that accepting and managing product returns remain a challenge. Reverse logistics remain underdeveloped and significant opportunities for improvement remain. Today, 58 per cent of retail respondents add a surcharge for returns, and 71 per cent have no plans to change this in the future. Meanwhile, 71 per cent of survey respondents agree that more retailers will turn stores into fulfilment centres that can accommodate product returns.
  • Today, 55 per cent of organisations are still using inefficient, manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. By 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will be used by 99 per cent of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will improve omnichannel logistics by providing more real-time access to warehouse management systems.
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow from 32 per cent today to 95 per cent in 2028. RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.
  • Future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions that will add newfound speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transport and labour. Surveyed executives expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones, driverless/autonomous vehicles, wearable and mobile technology, and robotics.

In association with the launching of the report, Zebra introduced a new mobile printer and RFID tool that will help drive better efficiencies both on and off-premise. Zebra says the new ZQ300 Series mobile printers empower workers in the field, in the warehouse or on the retail floor with on-demand printing capabilities. Meanwhile, the FX9600 fixed UHF RFID readers will enable enterprises to keep up with high volumes of cargo movements in the warehouse or dock doors.
 
 

Paccar Parts opens new DC in Brisbane

PACCAR Parts has officially opened a second parts distribution centre (PDC) in the Brisbane logistics hub of Berrinba, Brisbane, in a move to reduce delivery times to dealers and boost parts availability to customers in its retail network.
The purpose-built facility features just over 6,000 square metres of warehouse space.
The PDC, which shipped its first orders in December, services locations throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales (NSW). By year’s end it will supply locations in the Northern Territory and regional NSW.
The Brisbane PDC will enable PACCAR Parts to offer next day delivery to 74 per cent of its dealers, which represents an increase of next-day deliveries by 68 per cent.
“PACCAR Parts’ mission is uptime – moving customers and businesses forward,” said PACCAR Parts General Manager, Chris Scheel.
“Ensuring the availability of parts and service to customers is the number one thing we need to do in the parts business.
“For primary dealers we’re now delivering next day versus three-four days previously. For VORs (vehicle off road), the dealer drops in an order, we pick the part, and it’s received within hours,” he says – adding that dealers will also benefit from reduced freight cost in these emergency situations.
Delivery speed – and accuracy – will be enhanced by the latest technology installed in the PDC. The Berrinba warehouse is the first PACCAR PDC to use 100 per cent voice pick technology. Staff are fitted with headsets that tell them where to go and what to pick – and also in what order to determine the most efficient pick pattern.
Brisbane Distribution Centre - Front“Voice-pick technology allows our distribution associates to have two hands free and keep their eyes where they are picking. This enhances quality, efficiency and safety,” said Scheel.
Berrinba is also the first PACCAR PDC globally to feature ‘wire guidance’, an electromechanical system that controls vehicle steering by tracking an energised guidewire secured in the floor. This system frees operators from steering responsibilities in very narrow aisles, such as those that stock Paccar’s smaller stock items.
“Fast-moving parts are stored at the front of the building to really speed up velocity,” said Scheel.
Nationally, PACCAR Parts has also been working closely with dealers to improve retail availability. This has resulted in a 45 per cent reduction in emergency orders over the past five years; and 97 per cent retail availability He notes this has been achieved in a period when stock-keeping units have grown by 35 per cent.
This growth will be sustained, in part, by big investments both in product as well as the dealer/retail network. Speaking at the PDC opening, PACCAR Australia managing director, Andrew Hadjikakou, said the company would invest heavily in new product over the next two years, including two new Kenworth models under development (T410 and T360); and the move to locally manufacturing of DAF, starting with the best-selling CF mid-year.
Significant further investment is also slated for PACCAR’s 80-strong retail network, with five new locations added in 2017 and another four to come on line in 2018. At the same time, PACCAR is in the midst of expanding the TRP store network, with new outlets scheduled to open in Ballarat and Pakenham through March and April.
“To support this, this facility has become absolutely necessary,” said Hadjikakou.

Aussie consumers want after-hours delivery as part of online shopping package

A survey of 1,009 Australian consumers who shop online has revealed a demand for better delivery services.
CouriersPlease (CP) – a parcel delivery service – carried out the survey which included online shoppers who had made at least three purchases online in the last 6 months. The results indicated that more than 50 per cent of participants wanted after-hours delivery.
Specifically, 60 per cent of respondents wanted weekend parcel delivery services and 52 per cent wanted after-hours delivery of their online shopping purchases.
An additional survey of 193 online sellers found similar results. Also conducted by CP, this survey found that 67 per cent would choose same-day delivery services and weekend parcel delivery services for their customers whenever possible.
The findings also indicate that both online retailers and shoppers would like to see more parcel collection and drop off points for customers to collect and return their online orders (39 per cent and 38 per cent respectively).
CP CEO Mark McGinley, said: “Online shoppers live busy lives and often can’t or simply don’t want to wait around for their package to arrive. Our solution to this problem was to develop an extensive network of free and secure, drop-off and collection points. With over 1,000 POPShop retail outlets nationwide, shoppers can pick up their package at a nearby location, and at time that best suits them – including weekends and after-hours.”
“In continuing to offer more flexibility to our customers, CP is working to implement new services this year to improve the delivery process for our online retailer customers and their shoppers. These new technologies will provide consumers with greater visibility over the parcel delivery journey and streamline the overall customer experience.”
 

Ports Australia CEO calls for freight balance

Mike Gallacher, CEO of Ports Australia, has told the Australian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities that government must show leadership in addressing the freight imbalance to deal with the future freight task.
“Figures show that the country’s freight task is set to double and that our current and future spend on roads and rail will not be adequate to meet the requirement of the incoming freight tsunami,” said Gallacher.
“Over the last 25 years domestic sea freight has grown by one per cent, where rail has grown by 210 per cent and road, 61 per cent.
“For a maritime nation with over 70 ports strategically located right around our country, each with road and rail access, each with maritime related industry nearby, in either a capital city or regional town, a continuation of this imbalance surely is not in our national interest.
“Ports are intrinsically linked to our prosperity, ensuring that the gateways to Australia’s economy are healthy and vibrant is only a good thing for all Australia.”

Fastway Couriers celebrates 25 years in Australia

Delivery network Fastway Couriers has celebrated reaching 25 years of operation in Australia. The milestone was recognised at the company’s annual convention, held this year in Uluru, Northern Territory.
“Fastway Couriers is delighted to be celebrating its 25-year anniversary in Australia, and what better place to celebrate than Australia’s iconic Uluru?” said Peter Lipinski, CEO, Fastway Couriers Australia. “Our annual conference is a time to reflect on the success of the past year, and this year we are so pleased to be celebrating a successful 25 years of distribution here in Australia.”
Fastway Couriers was established in New Zealand in 1983, launched in Australia in 1993, and was named Australia’s fastest growing private company in 1998 by BRW Magazine. The company now has over 800 franchisees now across Australia, of a total over 1,500, and and was purchased by international courier and logistics company Aramex in January 2016.
“The transport and delivery industry has changed dramatically over the past 25 years,” said Lipinski. “The first Fastway van in Australia distributed in a world pre-smartphone technology and internet, in a market made up predominately of business-to-business customers.
“The rise of online shopping in the past five years has completely transformed our industry. The rapidly growing appetite of Australian consumers for online shopping and the expectation of round-the-clock convenience has underpinned the development of a number of innovative new technologies to help future proof our business and franchisees and delight every customer at the door.”
 
 

Amazon launches fulfilment service in Australia

Businesses registered to sell on Amazon’s Australian Marketplace are now able to access Amazon’s logistics service, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
Through the service, businesses send products to Amazon’s fulfilment centre and, when a customer places an order, Amazon’s fulfilment staff picks, packs and ships the product on behalf of the business, and handles customer service and returns.
Sellers are charged for storage space and the orders Amazon fulfils, while the cost of shipping is included in fees.
“Size doesn’t matter in the digital economy and Amazon Marketplace helps to level the playing field when it comes to starting or growing a business,” said Amit Mahto, Head of Fulfilment by Amazon – Australia. “We are focused on helping Australian businesses of all sizes succeed by inventing on their behalf and making our technology available to them, and FBA is a fantastic example of this.”
Customers purchasing items sold on Amazon’s Marketplace now have access to Amazon’s delivery offers that were previously only available on order direct from Amazon’s own stock, for example free delivery on eligible orders above $49, and other one-day expedited delivery in select areas across Australia.
Amazon noted that all FBA orders will be eligible for Prime delivery features, once the Prime service launches in mid-2018.

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