‘The Amazon Effect” is something that has been widely discussed in logistics circles. Basically, as Amazon has pushed its business towards being able to deliver more quickly and efficiently, this has had a knock on impact on the rest of the logistics industry, and on HGV drivers. It seems that where Amazon goes, the rest of the industry follows and, currently, that means looking for more ways to offer almost instant delivery at ever-lower cost. But what does the super fast delivery actually mean for those working in the industry and doing the driving?
Technology has a central role to play in improving efficiency and enabling companies like Amazon to offer better service to consumers. It’s not just relevant to the end user but right through the supply chain, from the point of production onwards. The impact of technology on logistics is already having far reaching implications and for most of those in the industry the only option is simply to get on board and start working with what is currently the cutting edge. Many recruiters now specifically state that familiarity with tech, and certain tech skills, are a requirement for HGV drivers and other logistics roles, for example, so a tech-driven working environment is already an inescapable reality.
The importance of driving efficiency
As technology provides more insight into where, and how, we drive the focus is increasingly being moved to using tools to help reduce cost and increase efficiency through driver behaviours. For example, many logistics businesses now track driver behaviours (including the number of rest breaks taken) and actively monitor fuel consumption, as well as choice of routes to see where changes could be made for more efficient performance. Transparency is crucial at every level – and key to making changes that enable the Amazon effect to be supported.
From A to B?
Simple routes from one pick up to one drop off are a thing of the past as the logistics industry becomes more involved in strategic routing. This, too, can have an impact on reducing costs by achieving better fuel efficiency and is also crucial in terms of better delivery speeds. Today, HGV drivers are much more likely to be making multiple drop offs at multiple depots and many businesses are using smaller fleets to help minimise the time that delivery takes.
What comes after same day delivery?
The Amazon Effect has seen the logistics industry turned on its head with delivery windows shortening from a week to several days, 24 hours to same day. There has been no option but to respond to what Amazon is promising its customers. The more people become accustomed to such short delivery spans the more this creates expectations that every business can offer the same. But the big question is where do we go from here – other than ‘within the hour’ delivery, how much faster can it get?
The logistics industry, and those working within it, are under significant pressure today to respond to the benchmarks that Amazon sets in terms of delivery. What the most pressing new challenge will be in 2019-2020 depends largely on what the global retailer does next.