I wrote a post earlier this week about a number of hardware trends that will impact your supply chain, those are all in place today, already impacting supply chain and will only grow in significance. But here is one that is futuristic – V2V (vehicle to vehicle). Why would a driverless vehicle impact my supply chain you may ask?
Of course the biggest impact will be on making road safer, make cars more energy efficient, reduce congestion to name few. But this enhanced hardware also has the potential to impacting your supply chains. For example – last mile package delivery. Driverless vehicles will bring to delivery the same advantages as companies like Kiva have to warehouse management. Companies like Fedex, DHL and UPS could leverage a fleet of driverless vehicles to make
small parcel, last mile deliveries. With greater overall visibility of traffic patterns, other vehicles and tied into overall grid would allow greater optimization of package delivery. There are already applications such as Route4Me that look to provide optimal routes based on the errands or destinations the consumer has to run. There are a number of these apps that are being baked into the smart cars. Add to this routing software the ability for vehicles to drive themselves and you open up great possibilities when it comes to logistics. Private operators could “rent” out their vehicles for delivery purposes….just like Uber drivers do with their cars when it comes to the chauffeur business.
Supply chains need to think about how this could impact parts of their business models. We are already seeing some retailers like Footlocker offering same day delivery from their stores. They are doing so using services from Deliv (think Uber for small parcel delivery). What if instead of having to use Deliv, they could dispatch driverless vehicles? What if the consumer could use the driverless vehicles for returns? What if the retailer use the driverless vehicles to bring back returns to other locations? This potential delivery channel could truly transform the consumers’ home into an extension of the brick and mortar store.
I realize that V2V technology remains in the future with regards to becoming a reality in our day to day lives. Unlike the other hardware changes, V2V is not going to impact your supply chain today. But think about the potential it may have once it becomes a reality – which is closer than you may realize.