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The Problems of Last Mile Delivery and 5 Ways to Improve It – ReadWrite

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The Problems Of Last Mile


Using human-centered innovation, AI, and SaaS to achieve a more effective last-mile delivery, while making a positive impact on the environment.

A Personal Story — Where’s My Passport?

After not seeing my family for years, I purchased a flight to visit them for Christmas. I will never forget that afternoon in December 2020 when I was impatiently waiting for my U.S. passport. I couldn’t believe that something so personal and delicate as my passport — was located — who knows where. Lost in New York City, trying to find my abode. I repeat: I was impatient. I couldn’t wait all day just sitting on my couch, so I escaped to the dollar store to buy more detergent.

Believe it or not, that specific moment was when the USPS truck ran through Myrtle Avenue in the direction of my house. I moved as fast as I could because I knew that my naive baby passport was there. “PLEASE DON’T GO,” I shouted to the USPS truck guy who was about to leave.

The USPS guy smiled through the window, stopped the truck, and brought it to my hands. This was at the beginning of the pandemic, so imagine, I almost cried and had to hold myself back from hugging the postal worker.

Last Mile — But Not the Least Mile

That final “knocking on the door” moment when people receive their packages is known as the last mile. It is the final delivery leg from the supply chain that takes the orders from the retailer to the customer’s arms.

It is also during the last mile that many things can go wrong — like almost missing your passport — and where many aspects can be reevaluated to remove anxiousness and disappointments of the customers.

NOTE: The four main steps to Supply Chain are: Planning, Sourcing, Manufacturing, and Delivery. If things go wrong — then there is another step — a devastating one — The Return.

Lonely Boxes in the Odyssey to Reach Your Door

Delivery is the fourth step of the supply chain, which means that it’s affected by the timing of the previous steps, specifically manufacturing. As a result, the last mile is unpredictable and its efficiency depends on the communication of the various stakeholders in this system, including the consumer.

Like all relationships — communication is key — and communication is usually a challenge.

The consequence of frequent miscommunications is that packages arrive too early or too late, which not only frustrates the consumer but leaves packages unguarded. Computers, mouse traps, art, books, you name it. Items on different levels of essentiality and urgency, entertainment and luxury — anything and everything.

Essentially — all packages can end up outdoors, exposed to various weather conditions, and vulnerable to theft, especially in urban zones which are facing an increase in overall index crime, like New York for example.

last mile app on a moble phone

According to Eyal Shats, co-founder of SimpliRoute, a decision-making SaaS platform for logistics, the main challenge of the last mile at a global level is the agility and speed that it demands. “The terms in which products are delivered have been shortened, to the point that today some businesses offer delivery within the same day that the purchase was made.”

A Never-Ending Problem

The cost of this step is expensive in multiple ways. “Free delivery” is marketing.  The cost is either included in the price of the product, or it is unfairly taken from the workers’ salaries. The overall process adds up in gas emissions too — which in 2021 grew by 6.2 percent in the United States.

Time costs more than just money; more time in logistics results in more gas emissions. The gas emission cause more harm to the environment. Plus there will always be delays caused by traffic at any given time of the day.

The last mile seems to be a never-ending problem.

Online shopping is a service in high demand that will keep on growing as the next billion online users are born. The wait, delays, and stolen boxes, all generate friction in the shopping experience, and therefore cart abandonment and other issues.

As designers and producers, we don’t want users to abandon us, so we need to find better ways to work with and for the consumer.

NOTE: In digital marketing, abandonment refers to a situation when a visitor accesses a website but terminates any actions by leaving the page.

Lonely Boxes Can be Happy

Yes, you read my mind, we have to consume consciously and choose products that last longer, that’s the first solution to these issues. But remember that deliveries not only carry treats and luxuries. They also carry medicine, food, documents, educational supplies, and so on.

When I asked Eyal Shats how SimpliRoute is developing innovations in this field, he emphasized that “the implementation of technology in the optimization of processes leaves great savings, and not only in costs but also in time.”

And it’s true, the implementation of SaaS like SimpliRoute can reduce the routing time by 80% and the number of vehicles needed to make the dispatches by up to 10%. This also lowers costs associated with logistics by 34%, increasing the performance of each delivery by 25%. As a result, it reduces the carbon footprint associated with these operations by 30%.

Five Priorities for Industry Leaders to Achieve a Happy Last Mile

  • 1. Innovate using algorithms

Powerful algorithms optimize your delivery plan according to the fleet, destination, and available drivers. AI and machine learning allows the product to apply its own experience, and use that information to enhance the service, providing more accurate options.

  • 2. Meet software as a service (SaaS)

Apply new technologies to increase efficiency in the delivery routes. This reduces logistical costs and increases customer satisfaction using software that takes the shape of handy apps and websites.

  • 3. Build products and systems that are user-centered

These apps and websites are spaces where consumers can participate, giving them the power to follow up and see what’s going on. They can rapidly report changes, requests, or complaints, and even express satisfaction when things go well. This immediate feedback and participation help services get better.

  • 4. Iteration generates perfection

Systems — and the people that design them — don’t evolve from plain old repetition. Rather, they learn from their mistakes, bugs, lost bets, and by listening. When we embrace problems as opportunities and prioritize the voice of users, processes evolve.

  • 5. Prioritize creating a positive impact

Simplifying the delivery stage by optimizing routes, results in a positive impact on the planet. Yes, the horizon of zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050 is achievable.

boxes delivered

When Lonely Boxes Meet Human-Centered Innovation

As designers and industry leaders, we have the responsibility to focus on building a healthier and more resilient infrastructure.

These transformations will be a challenge for the development of logistics since they offer new perspectives. The technologies created to make the supply chain more efficient will be increasingly standardized at a global level.

A standardized supply chain will let us handle the import and export of products agilely.

Working together we can unleash new opportunities, create jobs, drive competitiveness, and cut pollution. We can guarantee that shiny little passports make their way to the right home.

Image Credit: Rodnae Production; Pexels; Thank you!

Barbara Niveyro

Barbara Niveyro

Content designer & UX writer

Hi, I’m Barbara Victoria Niveyro. I am a content designer, UX writer, and researcher focused on tech, education, and health. I wrote “Almonds and beer”, a book about emerging arts selected by the New York Public Library and presented at MoMA PS1.



Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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