Post and Parcel ran an excellent report (http://postandparcel.info/70983/news/boris-johnson-calls-for-more-click-and-collect-hubs-to-combat-london-congestion/) on Boris Johnson calling for more click and collect to reduce congestion in London. He commented that the growth in online shopping was creating more freight movements as each house received its own deliveries. He felt the solution was large vehicles delivering to hubs and then having a click and collect approach for the final stage of getting the goods to customers.
This is the first of two short articles seeking to expand on the points he made about solutions to this problem.
Boris has made a very valid point but his proposed remedy is too narrow to be a comprehensive fix to the rising volume of deliveries. Click and collect involves customers travelling to a collection point, typically a shop and then making a return journey home. If this journey to a Click and Collect location can be done on foot or by bike then it will reduce congestion but if the collection point is too far away and people need to drive then the problem is increased. Many people making one-off collections by car will cause more congestion than a courier making multiple deliveries from one van; this is especially true if the courier can use technology to avoid failed deliveries through the use of time slots or automated parcel boxes.
If the overall aim is to reduce vehicle movements and miles then a variety of solutions need to be deployed. For Click and Collect to be truly effective (and keep cars off the road) there needs to be a high density of collection points so that one is within walking distance of most people. Big shops and supermarkets have made huge investments in click and collect and their operations are reasonably efficient. These larger facilities have proved popular but demand is straining the physical limits of these stores whilst growing further capacity is often expensive or impossible due to space constraints. Currently many small convenience stores offer a click and collect facility as an add-on service but they are not as well adapted, have major space constraints and parcel security or tracking is often cited as a drawback.
The solution to economically increasing the density of collection points is autonomous parcel boxes that offer a high level of security yet are easy to use.
is a UK pioneer of advanced parcel delivery boxes. Pelipods are inexpensive enough to be deployed anywhere yet provide a secure, fully audited, 24/7 parcel collection and return service; they even send an email notification when a parcel has been delivered or collected. A Pelipod captures and reports on the “what and when” of deliveries and identifies the “who and when” of collections. As Pelipod is operational around the clock, courier deliveries can be made outside of peak hours and there should never be a failed delivery, thereby saving return visits from couriers.
Some parcel businesses are planning highly innovative customer centric services based around Pelipod. These new services will place networks of Pelipod’s either with or close to end-consumers. The Pelipods will replicate much of the functions of click and collect yet the price of deployment is a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Because of the flexible use of access codes, advanced security and audit features, one Pelipod can work for multiple users making the deployment of a network with sufficient density much easier.
Some major UK businesses are deploying Pelipods to make deliveries to their field based work-forces more efficient. Instead of employees making frequent trips to depots to collect goods, Pelipods are deployed close to or at employee’s homes allowing goods to be delivered to exactly where they are needed saving many unproductive and needless collection journeys.
Click and collect can be seen as a forward stocking location where parcels can be aggregated and then got to their final destination in the most efficient manner. Automated parcel boxes, of which Pelipod is the first widely deployed intelligent version, will provide the cost-effective means to extend the density of parcel collection points and products and this will be an essential tool to reducing congestion caused by parcel movements.