21st Century Logistics: The Science Behind 24-Hour Deliveries

Behind all those late-night purchases lies a vast network of logistical services that bring our wish lists to life and deliver products to our doorsteps in as little as 24 hours. Whether you are a global titan of online retail or a small-scale seller on Etsy or eBay, you can rely on fleets of vehicles and third-party logistical geniuses to satisfy the demands of your customers. Here is a look at some of the science behind the art of 24-hour deliveries.

The Efficiency Of The Fleet Is Crucial

Getting packages and products into the hands of clients and consumers in a short amount of time requires an efficient fleet of vehicles. Not only do they need to be fuel efficient to help manage costs, but they also need to be efficiently managed. Time is something that businesses cannot buy, and no logistics service can afford to waste time on the road. Every fleet van, truck, or car needs to be carefully managed and its route and schedule choreographed to the minute.

There are a lot of tools available that can help everyone from big businesses like Amazon to small enterprises run as a side hustle to get their products to their customers. You can track your fleet with FleetGO and maintain up-to-date information on the location of all your vehicles, and even set alerts that can help you get ahead of a delay or bottleneck. Fleet tracking with this system gives you a real-time map of all of your vehicle’s locations and allows you to geo-fence congested areas to help maintain your logistical flow.

Spreading Inventory Across Multiple Warehouses

For the biggest retailers, size matters. Huge sales numbers require huge warehouses to stock items and dispatch them to their waiting consumers. The clock is always ticking. Regional warehouses carry stock of popular items and act as a distribution centre for rarer products. Amazon uses many large warehouses across the country, and they can move products between them in less than a day. Most orders can be combined quickly and distributed through a local fleet.

Warehousing and distribution have become a big business thanks to the Amazon Effect. Retailers are not just competing on price but also on convenience. Major retailers are using regional warehousing and distribution centres to sell products online with fast delivery time, and small businesses are filling in the gaps. Delivery in less than 48 hours is easily accessible for businesses of every size, and even quicker times are possible using drop shipping strategies.

AI And Algorithms

Logistics generates a lot of data. All of it can be analysed and used to inform algorithms and machine learning to help arrange distribution and delivery efficiently. How products are distributed between each warehouse, and how individual orders are combined before packaging and delivery can all be managed by computer programming.

The development of smarter Artificial Intelligence technology will only help to speed up deliveries for businesses of every size and even private sellers. The more capable these technologies become the more data they can process. The distribution of products can be informed by data on market trends or delivery estimates could use live weather and traffic data. Soon, some delivery times for products may be just a few hours.

Going The Last Mile

Last-mile delivery is the final step of the product distribution process. It brings purchases to the consumer’s doorstep. Retailers are using a mix of different services to go the last mile. Even the biggest in the business, Amazon, will use third-party logistics services (3pl) when they need to get a delivery done on time. These services are cheaper as multiple shipments get broken down into small groups as they go down the distribution chain.

It is not uncommon for consumers to receive goods from a car or small van instead of larger trucks. Multiple orders from multiple retailers are being delivered by the same 3pl service, delivering a wide range of products to a small area of a town or city. This cuts down on costs to retailers and consumers, as well as reducing carbon emissions, which is becoming an important part of doing business.

Making The Most Of The Amazon Effect

The global titan of online retail known as Amazon has had a massively disruptive effect on retail online and on the high street. It has set the standard in delivery and reliability, as well as making purchases quick and convenient. Consumers now expect all retailers to have an online presence that offers overnight delivery. People will pay extra for the ‘Prime’ treatment.

Third-party logistics services, private delivery drivers, and the everyday consumer are all benefitting from the example that Amazon has set for online retail. By creating a vast network of logistical routes around regional hubs anyone can get a box from one end of the country to the other in less than a day. Consumers demand it, and these businesses deliver in more ways than one. Demand is the fuel that powers the logistics engine.

It takes a lot of planning to get a product delivered to a consumer in record time, but a lot of the planning happens automatically. From the moment the customer clicks on the pay button, the wheels start turning, and the product begins its journey to their door.