Dachser’s tools for overcoming the challenges of inner-city distribution
Distribution in crowded metropolitan areas is a challenge to carriers all over the world. According to Dachser, finding a solution requires careful analysis and specific actions adapted to the exact prerequisites of the city in question.
Cities and urban areas all over the world are becoming increasingly congested, which is posing a serious challenge for anyone wanting to perform delivery services to businesses, as well as private individuals. Earlier in 2017, Universe of Delivery wrote about German Dachser, one of Europe’s leading logistics providers, who established the City Distribution project to address the problem.
Now, we have rounded up the content of the toolbox developed by the project group. The result is 6 concrete tools for planning for and overcoming the challenges of inner-city distribution presented by head of the project Stefan Hohm, Corporate Director of Corporate Solutions, Research & Development at Dachser. He describes Dachser’s toolbox as a means of predicting the future development and planning/acting accordingly, much as the players in a fast-paced game of ice hockey: “You have to anticipate where the puck will be in a few seconds, not where it is now”, and he continues: “The entire toolbox of the carrier has to be rethought to overcome the challenges of inner-city congestion. There is not one solution, but rather a number of tools being used together can solve the challenge.”
- Laws & regulations – Hohm explains: “We are seeing more and more restrictions on traffic in large cities. They increased traffic regulations by 87% over the last 8 years”. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to stay informed on developments in the area. Relying on speculations and rumors concerning regulations is not valid basis for planning and decision-making. Therefore, Dachser gathers and evaluates all relevant documentation on regulations in a structured manner and plans accordingly. Paris, for instance, has decided that with effect from 2020 only vehicles licensed in January 2011 or later will be allowed to enter the metropolitan area and thus, Dachser is already now taking this into account. Hohm recommends staying in close contact with authorities, who are generally willing to discuss challenges and solutions and support pilot projects.
- City Analysis – Each city has its own individual logistics requirements, both topographically and demographically and these should be analyzed when entering into business in a new city. Dachser analyzes each city individually in order to be able to offer individual solutions. Hohm notes: “Our general managers in local markets choose between the relevant concepts in our toolbox and apply regionally in their metropolitan areas. They have to be flexible”.
- New Energies and Technologies – Many cities grant exemptions to access regulations if sustainable means of transport are used, e.g. electric or hybrid vehicles or bicycles. This can be factored in when planning for inner-city distribution. However, Hohm has one cautionary advice: “Remember to adapt your tour planning if you want to use electric vehicles as they have a much shorter range”.
- Alternative tactics – Shrinking warehouse space and small shops that are difficult to access, calls for creative thinking when it comes to delivery concepts. Dachser recommends thinking creatively to make use of existing infrastructure to overcome congestions challenges. The company is for instance attempting to reduce delivery time and fulfill customer demands through night deliveries when streets are empty. In Paris, this means that shipments are delivered to hotels, hospitals and restaurants between the hours of 5:30 and 10:30 at night.
- Investment plan – Delivering sustainably in city centers is not free, as it requires a lot of adaption of routines, procedures and, perhaps, equipment, and carriers need to factor in increased costs when planning for a future with even more congestion and an increased number of deliveries.
- Research Start Ups and Innovation – Those who want to design inner-city delivery concepts of tomorrow have to combine proven and tested logistics systems with new ideas. At Dachser, this means close collaboration with universities, research facilities, associations and start-ups in order to be able to recognize and implement innovation at an early stage and overcome future challenges.
While it might seem like and unsurmountable challenge to overcome, Hohm notes that carriers cannot carry the burden of improving city distribution all by themselves. Enterprises and society needs to step up and take part in making city distribution more sustainable. “In order to truly optimize city distribution, we have to collaborate authorities, enterprises, market participants and consignees. Enterprises have to change their mind set at prioritize sustainable solutions. Not everything has to be delivered in 1 hour!”, he concludes.
- Dachser is supported on the Consignor Platform
- Dachser is one of Europe’s leading logistics providers and is represented in 43 countries.
- Thomas Dachser founded Dachser in Kempten, Germany, in 1930.
- Dachser employs more than 27,450 people and is located 409 places worldwide.
- Dachser ships 80 million shipments a year to customers worldwide.
- Dachser has annual sales of 5,71 billion EUR.