“In April, Amazon announced the standard shipping speed for Prime purchases would transition from two days to one. Walmart responded within three weeks with its own next-day shipping transition. Two weeks after that, FedEx announced it would extend its ground service from six to seven days per week in 2020. And less than two weeks ago, FedEx COO Raj Subramaniam announced Target has joined Rent the Runway in taking advantage of FedEx’s “extra hours” late pickup service for e-commerce orders.
E-commerce fulfillment and delivery is stretching — extending into hours and days it has historically not touched. Individually, each of these moves may seem like a small shift. In fact, Supply Chain Dive reported Amazon’s two to one-day shift for Prime orders requires little operational change. But together, these service changes lead to the question: How long before the last mile of the supply chain runs constantly?
“Non-consumer-facing transportation, whether it’s ocean containers and airplanes traversing continents or full truckloads over the road moving between distribution centers — those operations have been 24/7 for a long time,” said Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey, a last-mile visibility tech provider. Consumer expectations, Taylor said, and automation are causing that “always on” mentality to bleed into the last leg of the journey too.
“The only thing that’s missing is, are we gonna start delivering packages to people’s doorsteps at 3am?” Taylor asked. “While that capability certainly already exists today, the question is how necessary is that and do we sort of enter the land of the creepy when people are coming on to your property at 3 a.m.?”