Throughout this InternetRetailing Top500 Performance Dimension Report on Operations & Logistics we’ve been struck by the speed at which leading retailers are now delivering. The fact that 63% of them now offer next-day delivery chimes with the recent findings of the IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index, which noted that next-day delivery overtook standard delivery during August 2016 for the first time in the index’s history.
This, says Andrew Starkey, the IMRG’s head of e-logistics, comes as more retailers offer next-day delivery as standard. But he also has a warning. During peak times, such as Black Friday, it will be important to be measured with the use of such premium services. As experience has shown, the logistics industry’s established, year-round capacity can’t handle the peaks that occur just a few times each year.
There are limits, then, to how convenient retail logistics can be when goods need to be moved from one place to another, especially when that relies on lorry and van drivers, who are now becoming more difficult to recruit.
The services that really stand out in this Report are those that operate well due to popular stock already being in the right place. That happens at Screwfix, which is offering five minute click and collect, or Amazon, which enables Prime members to take delivery from a range of 15,000 products within an hour of ordering. To that end, it is deploying services such as Amazon Flex, which enables car drivers to deliver parcels in as little as 25 minutes – in their spare time.
With this in mind, the vision of future deliveries and collections painted by Jan Godsell is an intriguing one.
She’s professor of operations and supply chain strategy at WMG, University of Warwick, and she envisages delivery strategies that are driven by factors such as community, sharing, convenience and environmental concern. It’s a persuasive argument that retail logistics staff will consider as their services change in the future.