The last mile is in evolution, says Dr Anand Assi, who is joining Last Mile Month this October. Anand will be part of the panel of Order Fulfilment on 12th October. He is a proven supply chain thought-leader and business-model evangelist. With an impressive career that couples both a flagship business education and over 20 years of domestic & international success; Anand passionately leads strategic pursuits, conjuring vision into reality. An expert in last-mile operations, Anand has chalked up a legacy of success in establishing startups, launching operations and scaling-up business across Europe.
We spoke to him about his views on the last mile and what excites him about it. Register now here and check the rest of the speakers and partners!
1.How would you define Last Mile with one word?
In one word, I would define the Last-mile – as being in “evolution”; It’s application has, and continues to broaden exponentially as it correlates with the rise of E-commerce and Home delivery. The last mile continues to position itself as a critical Customer touch point for savvy E-tailers seeking to extend their brand and Customer journey “to door’’ in the purpose of winning repeat business.
2.What are the biggest challenges Last Mile faces?
It remains to be the most expensive part of overall shipment cost (constituting almost up to 50% of the total cost at times). As mentioned earlier, with traditional high-street retailers exploring new and innovative last-mile services; the challenge will be to manage this cost – as driver resources continue to become strained exposing practical and operational challenges (and opportunities).
Additionally, as we consume more deliveries at home, we as a society increase both the levels of packaging waste as well as the potential for returns; A growing challenge will be how last-mile providers organise themselves efficiently to manage this flow of return product and embrace new sustainable packaging solutions.
3.What are you most excited about the future of Last Mile?
I am excited by the continuing convergence and new value proposition being created by last-mile providers allying with a variety of traditional sectors. Such synergies will play a huge role in redefining the last-mile industry and the suite of services offered to a new customer audience.
Out-of-Home (OOH) concepts like; PUDO (Pickup/Drop off) and locker operations have continued to grow in popularity by offering the customer last mile choice and convenience; the former, allowing local pick up / together with affording the ability for consumers to try-on products before accepting them; and the latter offering an extended 24hr pickup in the busy world we find ourselves in.
Both concepts offer a way forward to relieving some of the challenges posed by “failed deliveries” and burgeoning resource constraints.
Urban fulfilment and Q-commerce models have spawned the establishment of city ‘Darkstores’; offering ease and convenience to a range of E-grocery product ranges. Further down the line; 3D printing technology presents a revolutionary vision in which similar urban fulfilment centres could develop into community hives – providing local fabrication and fulfilment alongside a number of additional services.