Optimising Last-Mile Delivery helps to Reduce Carbon Footprint
The nations are seeking ways to reduce carbon emission and reduce the rise in temperature in COP26. Besides driving such initiatives at the national level, can we support these businesses or individuals? Besides exploring to reduce carbon footprint, a different approach could also be making things easier for us.
I do not know if this is the case for you, but it happens to me. When I am buying things online, the challenge is when do I need to expect the delivery. We need to work, and we cannot always be around to wait for the deliveries. Most merchants do not allow us to state a specific date and timeslot to receive the items. Well, unless we are looking at perishable like the goods from RedMart. I feel that the merchants can do more to optimise this aspect of the logistic operations collectively.
Imagine the following scenario where we can manage delivery differently.
Delivery teams from different companies drove into this parking space in Jurong daily to swap their parcels. These are parcels that belong to the customers staying in various parts of the Jurong Area in Singapore. After exchanging the packets, they drove off to their allocated addresses to deliver that to the respective customers. What’s so special about this swapping of parcels? The result is to minimise the areas duplication covered by the different delivery teams, thereby reducing petrol consumption and potential congestion in some areas. While these delivery teams belong to various companies, they subscribe to a common platform that uses data to compute the best routing and utilise the minimum mileage in fulfiling these deliveries.
Well, these are for those customers who are opting for the cheapest rate or even free delivery. Those premium delivery services will continue to function, especially for those time-sensitive deliveries. I am assuming that most of us do not urgently need what we buy online; otherwise, we will buy them from a physical store.
What are the chances that such a scenario will become a reality to mitigate the total carbon footprint we generate? Yes, our carbon footprint doesn’t limit to those that we generate. It includes those resulting from our daily demand. Therefore, such distribution in logistics could help to minimise the duplication in the coverage and mitigate both petrol consumption and carbon emission. However, it needs the logistics companies to work together collectively for a common goal.
On another aspect, we should continue to increase the availability of those self-collection boxes across the island. Instead of letting the logistic provider run and determine whom they like to work with, this can be managed by one of the agencies that oversee the green initiatives. To utilise this service, the customer will need to pay for the usage of the box. This approach is a different concept from what we are seeing now.
Customers can now choose the pick-up point that is more convenient to them. They do not need to stay at home to wait for the parcels but continue with their activities and pick-up when delivered. Instead of letting the logistics companies tell the customer where to pick up, the customer can determine which box the logistic companies can use. The logistics companies can surely deliver the first time, reducing the need for another trip which takes up their time and resources, not to mention burning more petrol.
There are many ways that we can contribute to this massive effort. We need to approach things differently and look beyond securing one’s turf but seek to collaborate for the greater good.