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Innovative Solution for Last Mile Delivery

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The common problem seen in the logistics industry is the lack of visibility of real-time tracking capability to monitor goods, which lead to delays of delivery and loss of inventory.

CEVA Logistics, one of the city logistics service providers in Singapore has emerged with an innovative solution for last-mile deliveries – CEVA’s Mobility Suite. It is a multi-platform smartphone application for iOS, Andriod and Windows Mobile, with built-in features such as the real-time milestones shipments, electronic checklist, proof of delivery receipts, driver availability, trip status, dynamic dispatch, mobile dashboard, damaged goods workflow management, real-time customers survey and image capture for home delivery services. (Singapore builds “smart” into logistics, 5 April 2017).

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The new smartphone application allows transparency across the entire supply chain so as to establish better communication from the beginning to the end. For instance from the procurement process, to delivery, and to the customers. This has no doubt greatly increased the efficiency of the supply chain performance, however the implementation of the mobility suite may not be cheap. It might be cost-effective in the long run but the implementation would require a huge capital. CEVA has also developed a Matrix Warehouse Management System (WMS) which automates the warehouse management process, by using voice-picking system which increases the picking volumes and intensity. Company would have to hire technicians to fix the equipment if it were to malfunction during operational period. With the new technology developing, the workforce may not be tech-savvy enough to keep up with it, especially to the older demographic of ground staff. However, trainings may be provided for the staff.

The other innovative last mile delivery solution is the drone delivery by United Parcels Service Inc (UPS) and Amazon. According to Mark Wallace, an engineering executive in UPS, it is useful for delivering goods in the rural areas where package cars often have to travel miles to make a single delivery. The drone delivery is not to replace the truck drivers but to enhance their capabilities and make deliveries more efficient. However, the drones have limited capacity as it has a weight limit for the parcel, and it could not fly for more than typically five pounds for 50-mile flight range. Furthermore, the companies are required to comply with the flight paths approved by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulators, which ensures that drone does not fly over busy streets or pedestrians and to maintain a clear line of sight. In densely populate urban cities like Singapore, it rules out operation of drones. In rural areas, the connection may not be strong and could be unavailable at times.

Unlike organisations like UPS and Amazon which uses drone to deliver goods, FedEx is opting for the ground vehicles for last mile delivery solution. According to MIT Technology Review, the chief information officer, Rob Carter, favours rolling robots than levitating drones. FedEx is working with startup company Peloton Technology to research on semi-autonomous technology. This technology link up trucks electronically into small groups called platoons, which uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication to allow the lead truck’s driver to control the fuel consumption and distance of the truck following behind. The design of this technology helps to save fuel and reduce wind resistance.

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