In this presentation to the MIT Media Lab, CEO and Cofounder, Chazz Sims, explores the changes coming in last-mile and local delivery with a focus on multi-stop delivery routes.
When you think of local delivery, it’s actually a huge part of a number of different industries. You can take a look at FedEx as they deliver packages to homes and businesses, Pepsi as they distribute their products to stores, restaurants and vending machines. You can also look at cable and Internet providers and their fleets as they send out service reps to home installations.
When you look at last-mile operators, the way they managed their orders and fleets used to be pretty straightforward – and very manual. Traditionally, you’d have a business or person who would call in and order. That order would get manually assigned to a schedule. And then that schedule was passed along to a driver who would go out and do a bunch of those deliveries.
But now there are a lot of changes in that process, starting with the way orders come in. In addition to being phoned in, orders are often initiated online – either in advance or in real time. For retail operations, there are also real-time sensors that predict out of stocks and automatically reorder inventory. These many ways to order are driving up order volume and multiplying the complexity of managing last-mile delivery fleets.
In response, some fleets are rapidly shifting to more dynamic operations and feature more automation across the entire process. But, for many fleets, the process of assigning deliveries has actually stayed pretty manual and pretty static. To successfully keep up with the increasing volume, and bridge the gap between the new ways to order and the ways to fulfill them, requires new systems. At Wise Systems, we believe the answer to that is autonomous dispatch and routing.
Wise Systems defines autonomous dispatch as an automated system for seamlessly coordinating the movement of goods, people and services all the way from order creation, through the fulfillment by a driver or some other vehicle. And the software we build – focused on fully automating dispatch and routing – is essential to helping companies continuously optimize both their efficiency and customer service.
We do this by looking at the problem in multiple phases, starting with the planning phase. We take the thousands of orders that have to go out across a region or a city and distribute those effectively across the fleet, factoring in customer time windows, driver availability and shift times, and more. Then, during the delivery execution phase, we continue to optimize and adjust schedules throughout the day and deliver those updates back to the drivers so they can stay efficient and on time. And finally, we take all of that data and use it in order to benchmark and analyze the fleet. We also use it to better plan in the future.
With our technology and this approach, we’ve been able to help companies reduce their number of late deliveries by over 80% and also reduce their miles and time on road by up to 15%, resulting in tremendous value going back into their business, really allowing them to compete in this new age, delivering on the promise of efficiency and service.