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Tipping Point for Intelligent Locker Automation is NOW – Helping to put “green” back into a recovery plan built on safety, caution and care

- May 25, 2020

Framework Components:

1.    eGrocery with food supply chain re-engineering and fulfilment controls.

2.    Re-imagining fulfilment with delivery around the entire safe and secure customer experience with all defined human interactions and safety business rules mapped to the evolving customer journey. 

3.    Lockers as shakeup in delivery landscape opening new channels and markets.

4.    Experiential Receipt moves from experiencing touching, physical retail to touchless with how goods are delivered & picked up.

5.    Societal impact implies a change in consumer behaviour and order of values.

6.    Transparency, safety and reliability requirements measuring (new KPIs).

Operational Workspace:

1.    MFC technology/on-line fulfilment and locker automation with embedded customer care.

2.    Green Zones: low risk with low repetition: consumer choices which we can control results in low hazard/harm probabilities for feeling safe vs Red Zones: high risk with high repetition: no choices and no controls with high hazard/harm probabilities for feeling unsafe and in danger; middle risk or ‘amber’ scenarios require extensive assessments, multi-discipline intelligence, AI tools and statistics to validate longer-term amber zones.

3.    Discount and value retail with bulk/larger format goods, defined by both a COVID-19 digital lens and operational efficiencies: essential SKUs, essential delivery balanced with speed, load density and quality of fulfilment.

4.    Experiential Pickup: feeling safer with defined safety “at-a distance” protocols and social measures, means feeling better, faster with no line-ups.

5.    Human values with common rights of safety and focused wellness (from hygiene products to hygiene receipt), clearly defined, low risk safety-defined protocols. 

6.    Speed of delivery (velocity) does not equate to measured safety, quality and reliability although powered by locker network resilience and real-time visibility will help – KPI’s to be defined such as reporting compliance, location and space analytics, and delivery channel metrics (BOPIS, HD, OOH, PUDO).

"A strengthened food system is integral to a better health system future. The point of a social security system for food logistics and delivery ecolocalism, is not merely to study the world, but to change it, one space at a time. COVID-19’s impact and the “6-foot (2m) society” defines changes in consumer behaviour and a new ordering of values."

Delivery with Consumer Confidence defines Human Security-Driven Logistics. 

Consumer grocery delivery and pick up is a big part of the current e-Grocery challenge now and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a significant constraint. Caught off guard, the demand has fast-tracked growth and capacity requirements for online grocery targets by 3-5 years into the present (less than 5% in Dec 2019 to over 10% in April 2020). With this growth comes pressures on end-to-end fulfilment and, specifically, delivery that has tremendous impact on your reputation and consumer confidence. It’s the ability to deliver in the long term. Why not lead with consumer safety and health at the same time? 

e-Grocery Fulfilment

Automated lockers compliment online growth and revenue channels to present a valuable component of the e-Grocery fulfilment component. Complete with built-in social distancing “green” low-risk zones, touchless technology, sanitation defined protocols, operational efficiency and delivery density, lockers save both time and money. The time is now to make intelligent lockers part of life now and post COVID-19. 

COVID-19 is forcing Business to Rethink the Last Mile.

How can we generate long-term behavioral change for better delivery receipt? Let’s all agree that at-home delivery isn’t safe, socially acceptable or exciting anymore. We need to harness our current motivation for change, reinvention and improved social quality to do the right thing.  demands active attention to help by reducing energy and developing more sustainable last mile fulfilment. There is a small gap in consumer attitude to select better options for the 6-ft society that starts at home by choosing not-at-home.

Online ordering of food and other essentials is significantly driving up e-grocery adoption. We need to be better at managing fulfilment with new technologies and workflows. There is no question that store-assets require rethinking aligning better with operations to manage fulfilling orders more efficiently and to scale effective curbside, click & collect, and automated lockers for last mile solutions. The practice of home delivery reinforced by the Amazon-effect is not a practical, healthy or sustainable solution. 

Re-Tooling for Demand with Profitable Operations

It’s clearly time to think about re-tooling for demand with the acceleration of online, with both grocery and essential dry goods. While the actual installation of an intelligent locker system may only be a couple of months, other tasks such as building a business case, capital approval process, security assessments, site commissioning and more can add months to a go-live timeline. Along with immediate episodic COVID-19 challenges, mid-term decisions for forward-thinking are needed on a timely basis. What are you doing now to build your consumer delivery and pickup reputation?

A profitable operation needs to be automated with an end-to-end logistics approach, efficient space utilization while automating instore pick/pack and dedicated micro fulfilment centres, to small vehicles adopting delivery density and routing optimization, click and collect optimized drive-up locations and locker endpoints in a network closer to consumers. An automated locker network is part of the new online store network strategy. All locker endpoints are also data points, important sources of information helping to build customer service metrics while forecasting demand and focusing on operations fulfilment. Intelligent lockers provide a valuable ecommerce tool for marketing and IT to adjust to changing consumer behaviours with new business models.

Safety-Centric and Health at the Core for Execution 

Customer centric can be translated now as safety-centric with health at is core. It’s the bigger question of public safety, consumer protection, and dedicated changes around the event changing deep question of why life matters. The new customer-centric retailers will win if they can position themselves as caring for their customers with direct, transparent, empathic and authentic communications. Better pick-up choices speak of this direct communication by combining convenience with safe choices and well-ness. Acceleration in last-mile logistics will need to compliment and adapt to the emerging post-COVID 19 consumer.

As we modify our habits towards a new order, it’s imperative to be living better environmental choices, combining social values with transforming our wellness and health systems. An implied human right is to be part of a healthier ecosystem. Accordingly, food supply chains are the most urgent place to start. A strengthened food system is integral to a better health system future. Our focus on last-mile logistics defines both critical business operations with performance and fulfilment costs but also a social mindset. 

A Long-Term Approach runs on both Human & Artificial Intelligence and Science

The long-term approach for grocery fulfilment is for a better physical and safer world of consumer choice and pick up options. Consumer delivery and pick up is your reputation – live better choices and lead with human values.  Become a leading light for deliver with purpose. This approach is guided by making a difference for humanity. Our pitch is not part of the claim to a future that runs on “artificial intelligence” and digital technologies, but on “human intelligence”, not consolidating power and controls but liberating freedoms of people – security, quality of life and equality. It’s more about defining technology with purpose and a creative reinvention.

The point of social security defined logistics and ecolocalism with local economies of place and space, is not merely to study the world, but to change it. The purposeful dialogue is focused on integration and learning. It seeks to increase community space cohesion, reduce poverty and inequalities, improve livelihoods, while promoting environmental protection and providing an all-important sense of security and protection. Indeed, making better consumer choices includes making a difference in environmental and social goals. Together we can all make a difference. With the growth of eGrocery, we also need to do our part by fostering healthier and safer habits with a social “delivery consciousness”. 

Let's do our part to help avoid the threat of unsafe delivery and dangerous receipt of food and dry goods. An old proverb comes to mind: Better safe than sorry. So, if not NOW…WHEN? 

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