As internet shopping and online ordering grow, so consolidated deliveries and servicing are becoming a more frequent way of managing the process.
The trend is growing, but so is the need, as local authorities and transport planning consultants strive to relieve our cities of congestion and to improve their ratings for air quality assessments.
Town planners are working to ever stricter guidelines with regard to environmental assessments, and when it comes to urban regeneration and improving the built environment, consolidated deliveries have an important part to play.
But just how can local authorities and businesses use consolidated deliveries to achieve their targets? Mayer Brown promotes a Four Factor consolidated delivery strategy that can help create transport planning and environmental management benefits.
Those Four Factors are:
Minimising is a good place to start. After all, consolidating deliveries and servicing is all about minimising the number of deliveries by consolidating several deliveries into one.
- Reduce service areas and maximise revenue
By consolidating deliveries and using fewer delivery vehicles, a natural consequence is a reduction in the size of service areas and delivery bays, minimising what’s required. Fewer vehicles out on deliveries not only means a reduced environmental impact, but can also free up previously low-rateable spaces used by delivery vehicles. This can then be used for development into offices and other buildings with a higher rateable value.
That’s good news for local authorities and developers as well as the communities they serve.
Create urban consolidation centres
Allocate a single building for deliveries to a particular site or area. The consolidated deliveries can then be taken to a site (or a number of adjacent sites) in one vehicle, rather than multiple vehicles.
- Offsite deliveries
We’re seeing these increasingly, and they’re proving very popular with customers. They’re convenient, while reducing the environmental impact of online shopping. Doddle, Amazon and others supply lockers where their customers can pick up and return items at a time to suit them. Other schemes include delivering items to a 24 hour supermarket, from a third party supplier, which the customer can collect alongside their supermarket shopping.
Centralised management between the different parties involved can do much to maximise the benefits of consolidated deliveries using existing resources.
- Speed drop-off
Delivery times are kept to a minimum when there is a single point of delivery. This might be an Amazon locker or perhaps a concierge, who takes all deliveries for a commercial premises with multiple occupiers.
- Smart scheduling.
By scheduling deliveries to avoid the rush hour, journey times can be made shorter, having less environmental impact. Out of hours deliveries, at weekends or evenings, can also do much to reduce pressure on roads and improve highway management.
- Joint procurement
Multiple companies can work together and use just one courier to service one destination, such as an office block. Not only does this lead to better air quality assessments, but it can also reduce costs for customers.
- Agreed standards
Standards such as FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) and CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) can ensure that deliveries are carried out in a sustainable and responsible manner. This will include standards such as switching off engines of stationary vehicles and reducing noise and emissions.
Consolidating deliveries can have a huge environmental impact, while reducing some of the challenges associated with urban renewal and regeneration for local authorities. Add using sustainable means of transport into the mix and the benefits of using consolidated deliveries are taken a stage further. Cycles, electric vehicles, pedal vehicles and zero emission vehicles can all be part of transport planning for consolidated deliveries.
Consolidated deliveries and servicing are not only about the ‘how’. They’re also about the ‘where’.
- Highway management
More thought can be given to delivery vehicle routes. Can deliveries be re-routed to avoid sensitive areas? Make a thorough transport assessment to create delivery routes that are efficient, while promoting urban regeneration. Planning for a future of increased consolidated deliveries can also be built into urban highway design.
Live vehicle tracking using GPS links the customer with their delivery service to ensure that someone is always there to receive goods on arrival. This eliminates the wasted journeys of returning to the same site, later on in the day. When there’s clarity on the whereabouts of a delivery from depot to customer, there is scope for a range of efficiencies.
As the demand for consolidated deliveries and servicing continues to grow, it’s important that local authorities, delivery businesses, retailers and other players work together. Well managed practices are beneficial to everyone – cutting costs for businesses, customers and local government, while creating healthier urban environments that work well for the people who live and work in them.