Ingo Babrikowski
Expert Contributor

Moving Goods Faster but Also Intelligently

By Ingo Babrikowski | Wed, 04/07/2021 - 09:16

The last year has surprised us with a wave of changes in the way of doing almost everything. Being at home, we have been able to observe our habits and behaviors from a different perspective, including remote working.

In cities like Mexico, hundreds of thousands of people invest no less than four hours a day commuting to their workplaces. I think it is obligatory for the management teams to seriously assess the possibility of maintaining distance work schemes post-pandemic.

Establishing models with the home office as a basis, with the necessary tools and objectives, an appropriate balance of workload, physical and mental healthcare and programs to connect to the company, could generate a significant change in the lifestyle of millions of people.

The growth of e-commerce, meanwhile, has accelerated by at least three years, and Mexico is the Latin American country with the greatest increase in activity, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Companies that adopted online sales were able to see their profits grow firsthand. This practice has also given us an important reference point to be able to choose, in the post-pandemic period, between a family afternoon strolling in a park or a grueling day of shopping.

As a result, the level of demand for logistics services has increased exponentially. We have had to adjust the way we operate. In a short time, we have installed smaller distribution centers within large cities to get closer to the consumer and that allow us to make more agile connections.

Technology is the main protagonist. of course. Thanks to technology, we can generate the necessary solutions, the redesign of routes, calculate the demand levels of our customers and generate the services they require. Today logistics companies are information companies as well.

We can effectively move faster and faster. However, logistical effectiveness involves not only delivering faster, but achieving a balance between the environmental impact generated by that delivery and cost. It is precisely the combination of resources and variables involved in delivery that defines the effectiveness of an operation. That is what our value offer is all about.

It is very important that online shoppers consider participating in "responsible deliveries," although delivery time has positioned itself as a key factor in the purchase decision, it is necessary that as consumers we evaluate how real the urgency is. Having a higher rank in the last mile will allow us to potentialize the social benefit that e-commerce represents.

Not having to transport ourselves to purchase the products we need represents fewer vehicles on the streets and more time to do other things.

It is precisely because of this search for balance that Estafeta has been working on delivery options that add value to our operation. Here are two:

• We expanded our network of delivery and shipping collection points (PUDOS):

Having locations close to our customers allows us to reduce deliveries and provides our customers with the opportunity to pick up their packages when it is most convenient for them. In addition, by inviting small local businesses to become delivery points, we generate a virtuous circle of foot traffic to their premises.

• Delivery by electric vehicles:

Our Green Shipments program makes use of electric cargo bikes to deliver shipments in areas of high population density and little territorial extension in cities such as Mexico City, Puebla and Queretaro.

Finally, I would like to comment on research in urban logistics carried out by the Mexican Transport Institute (IMT) in 2019 in the city of Queretaro in which some companies were invited to participate in the search for more efficient distribution models within the historic center of that city. In short, the study assessed the impact on product distribution by having cargo and unloading bays in the historic center of the city.

The results are very interesting: The participating companies reported a significant reduction in delivery times and stress levels of operators by not having to locate a space to park with the consequent reduction in fuel consumption.

According to the consultancy Deloitte, in urban centers at certain times, the activity of delivery vehicles can exceed by 70 percent the offer of available parking spaces. This creates a significant impact on urban congestion and loss of efficiency for goods distribution and for transport companies. Proper management of loading and unloading zones would significantly help improve delivery dynamics.

I believe that all social actors should try to find new ways to do things after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. It is important not to lose sight of the call for analysis and collaboration with which we can undoubtedly generate a new normality that favors, above all, sustainability. It is not possible, under any circumstance, to go through an event of this nature without much change for the better.

Photo by:   Ingo Babrikowski