3 innovative new delivery methods that are changing shipping as we know it

07/09/2017

drones delivering pizzas in city sky

drones delivering pizzas in city sky

For thousands of years, deliveries were made either on foot, or with the assistance of a horse or a ship. Then trains, automobiles, and planes came along and radically changed things. In the past 100 years, deliveries were able to be made faster, safer, and more efficiently than at any point in history.

However, deliveries are now going through yet another stage of development, and innovation is changing shipping again. Here is a look at some of the newest and most innovative delivery methods that companies are trying now.

1. Drones to fill the skies

Drones – unmanned flying machines that can be piloted by a person on the ground or guided using software – are among the most hyped new shipping technologies. A number of companies have already begun using drones to make deliveries.

In fact, in March 2017, Amazon made its first official drone delivery through its new “Prime Air” delivery service. The delivery consisted of a bottle of sunscreen and was sent to people at a conference in Palm Springs, California. The drone flew in, dropped off the package successfully and flew out without any issues. The online retail giant is a known pioneer and a trendsetter. So if Amazon starts heavily relying on drones for deliveries, there is a good chance that many others will soon follow suit.

Amazon is just one of many companies who are experimenting with drone delivery. Some other companies who are experimenting with drone deliveries include Domino’s Pizza, Mercedes, the Ukrainian Postal Service, and Workhorse.

The fact that so many famous brands are starting to use drones means that everything from pizzas to diapers to clothing could soon be flying through the air in high volumes.

It may soon become as commonplace to see drones flying through the air as it is to see cars driving on streets.

One of the key reasons why companies are starting to adopt drone technology is because they do not require drivers on the roads to move goods from point A to point B. This can help save companies a lot of money on delivery costs.

This is great news for companies, but potentially bad news for deliver drivers. However, despite the fact that many delivery driving jobs could soon vanish, many new job opportunities related to drone deliveries could soon arrive.

2. Driverless cars in beta

Driverless cars are another unmanned and automated approach to delivery that companies are beginning to experiment with. Domino’s again is involved with this exciting delivery innovation. On August 30th, 2017, Domino’s started to experiment with self-driving pizza deliveries in its own hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Domino’s has partnered with Ford to use self-driving Ford Fusions to deliver pizzas to people around the city without drivers.

Because there are no drivers, no tips are required. To receive their pizza, customers have to walk up to the car and enter a four-digit code. After they enter the code, the back window roles down, and they can get their pizza out of a special heated container.

Domino’s is not the only company testing out driverless vehicles for delivery purposes. In fact, Ocado Technologies and Oxford University in England are working in collaboration to test small self-driving vans for grocery deliveries in the crowded streets of London. Oxford University is trying to create a car that will be emissions-free, in addition to delivering groceries autonomously.

3. One-hour delivery coming to your city, town or village

One-hour delivery, where possible, is extremely fast and can eliminate the days or weeks of shipping time that are often required for items purchased online.

Amazon is again leading the charge for one-hour delivery. The company now offers one-hour delivery in select major cities all over the U.S. and now into the UK and Canada for its Amazon Prime members.

Although this service is only available in a small number of cities, this amount will soon grow. This is especially true considering the fact that Amazon will be using drones more and more. Drones are not subject to traffic jams like cars are, so they have the potential to increase the speed at which items can be delivered. This is partially because drones can fly straight from point A to point B in many cases, barring buildings or other obstacles, since they do not need to follow winding roads.

So, essentially, drones could help bolster Amazon’s one-hour delivery and help to expand the service into suburban, or even rural areas.

Speedy one-hour shipping may become more common as other shippers and retailers try to keep pace with Amazon.

Revolutionizing the entire shipping industry

Between Canada and the United States, billions of packages are shipped every year. In today’s economy, customers want packages shipped faster, cheaper, and more efficiently. Delivery companies also want to reduce their delivery costs, while optimizing efficiency. The drive to create new delivery solutions is pushing companies to innovate at an impressive pace.

Delivery innovation is occurring so fast that five years from now the delivery landscape could look entirely different. Drones and self-driving cars could will automate vast portions of the delivery niche, while one-hour deliveries could make standard 5-7-day shipping periods look obsolete.

Amazon and Domino’s are two companies who are leading the charge for better delivery. This is not surprising considering that shipping is a key aspect of the business models for both of these businesses. In fact, Domino’s delivers more than 1.5 million pizzas every single day! The amount of packages that Amazon ships each day is very similar: roughly 1.6 million.

As these two major companies continue to innovate to reduce costs and improve shipping efficiency, the entire transport industry could change. The extent to which these new innovations will succeed and how much other companies follow suit is yet to be determined. But there is a high expectation that their innovations will be successful, and that many other companies will follow in their path.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

Has your company changed the way you deliver goods? What will the next great shipping innovation be? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Bennett O'Brien

Author: Bennett O'Brien

Bennett O'Brien is a freelance writer from the state of Massachusetts in the United States. He holds a bachelor's degree from Westfield State University, and graduated cum laude. Currently he is expanding his freelance writing career, and enjoying the opportunity to write on a variety of business topics.

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