of the logistics market:
more ‘Plug and Play’
Taxi service Uber announced last Wednesday that they are coming to Europe with their freight service ‘Uber Freight’ and that they will begin in the Netherlands. The world is Uberising, but what does this Uberisation mean for logistics? We of course all know Uber as the largest taxi service without taxis worldwide. Uber Freight works according to the same principle and connects truck drivers with shippers to make the transport market more efficient and thus anticipate the shortage of drivers. In addition, this contributes to the reduction of transport waste because one fifth of truck kilometres are driven without freight.
The difference with the taxi service is that no rides are assigned to Uber Freight. The transporter chooses his own load. Via the app, shippers gain real-time insight into where their load is and can already book orders in advance. Individual price arrangements are made between shipper and transporter with Uber allocating the difference to itself.
Plug and Play
The so-called ‘Plug and Play networks’ that result from this, offer many options. As consumers, we make full use of them. We consider it normal to temporarily plug in to services (platforms) to use products that we do not have in our possession. Freedom, ease, flexibility, (temporary) connectivity, cost savings and a positive contribution to the environment drive us to this worldwide ‘Uberisation’.
Uberisation of the logistics market
What Uber Freight does on a large scale for freight operators, we see Amazon Flex do for ‘conventional’ drivers. If you have a driving licence, a car and an Android phone, you can deliver packages for the e-tailer as a supplementary activity. In spite of the various sources that seem to say that ‘Flex is dead’, it’s one of the signals that indicates that the logistics market is also uberising. The food branch is perhaps the most forward-thinking in the logistics ‘Plug and Play’ options. Uber’s start of ‘Uber Eats’ and ‘ Deliveroo‘ bike couriers as an integralpart of our urban landscape is not without reason.
Consumers demand flexibility and speed, and today’s choice can simply change tomorrow. Retail chains are also feeling this. That is why Intertoys will soon no longer ship from one central distribution centre, but from shops that will function as fulfilment centres. At Coolblue, a webshop that is opening more and more physical shops, we see the same thing. For them, physical stores form a micro-logistics network from which they send their goods to the customer in a fast and efficient manner. This brings them closer to the customer. A more sustainable delivery (for instance by bike courier) with fewer km’ers, enables them to keep products in stock locally.
Not every shipper is able or wants to set up his shops as fulfilment centres. In addition, it is questionable whether the demand for storage capacity in the stores is sufficient to cope with busy periods. Why would a small shipper build several fulfilment centres? Besides, why would he be bound by contracts for a long time? He could make flexible use of empty storage in another shipper’s perfectly organised micro-logistics network instead.