AILOG and the problem of the last mile

There last mile logistics is it inefficient? Looking at the low filling rates of the vehicles, the empty trips, the age and quality of the vehicles - even if with big differences between one supply chain and the other - the answer today can only be yes: the margins for improvement are very large but the market finds it hard to take advantage of it, and when it does it is not always as it should be. Does this mean that logisticians don't know how to do their job? No, to say this would be unfair: logistics in Italy is a serious thing done by serious people, it is all the factors that make everything more complicated.

Of last mile logistics there was talk on Thursday 4 October at the last conference of AILOG, Italian Association of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, in the presence of a good number of member companies, others in the process of becoming one, representatives of the academic world and public administration. We talked about organization, management, rules that involve public bodies, tools that improve work and environmental problems (of this little in our opinion), just enough to confirm that supply chain problems go beyond the warehouse management and involve the stretch of road (often longer than a kilometer) that separates the goods from the sorting point to the delivery point.

The logistics of the last mile he encounters new difficulties on the demand and supply side, as he pointed out Elena Maggi, professor of Transport Economics. From the demand point of view, the problems are, for example, just in time, the spread of e-commerce (with the multiplication of small point-to-point deliveries) and the reduction of storage spaces. From the supply point of view, however, the existence of a fragmented market with a high number of operators, own-account transport, widespread use of subcontracting and the dispersion of logistics platforms are problematic. The question calls into question the public sector - which must not replace the private sector - in a necessary division of tasks and responsibilities.

What can the public do? First of all, review, and in some cases abolish, the constraints that hinder transport. Harmonization is the key word: it is absurd that there are particular rules and prohibitions that change from one municipality to another (even on the same road!) Or time slots that make deliveries impossible according to an organized logic. Furthermore, the rules should be lasting because they involve investments that cannot be frustrated with each new election. In a too fragmented reality, the solutions sometimes create more harm than good (in this we are masters) and this must be avoided. Even the simplest things can help: for example authorizing the so-called 'Logistics box' on the street, nothing more than a protected container where those who deliver can leave the goods (for example bread) taking advantage of times when the shops are closed (and the traffic is less). For the public administration they were present at the conference the Councilor for Productive Activities of the Municipality of Milan, Franco D’Alfonso and that ai Transport of the Province, Giovanni de Nicola: both arrived a little late (9 minutes the first, 21 the second), but their commitments are certainly many and the fact of being there was already appreciated.

What can the world of logistics do? Intervening on the problems highlighted above, on the demand side and the supply side. Improving one's services by adopting new tools and new means, improving the organization and managerial management of transport, adopting sustainable solutions not only from an economic point of view but also from an environmental point of view (in our opinion this has not been talked about enough) because, as Councilor D'Alfonso underlined: “the logistics of the last mile also have an emotional and social component; it is not just an engineering problem and has an impact on the quality of life ”. On the environmental front in terms of the last mile Eliana Romano, of the Milan Chamber of Commerce, announced the involvement of Minister of the Environment Clini and upcoming initiatives in this sense (such as the Environment portal), in which AILOG said it was ready to participate.

Technology can certainly help improve logistics and make it more sustainable. Angelo Zanotti of OM Still, sponsor of the event, presented two brand new trucks for the warehouse: RX70 with hybrid engine (thermal-electric) that consumes 1.9 l / h of fuel instead of the normal 3.5 l / h; and the hydrogen RX60 which will soon be on the market with zero emissions. He also presented FleetManager, a software for the management of fleets of vehicles in the warehouse that allows you to monitor and track (therefore optimize) all activities.

Also Marco Piacciafuoco of PTV Group, a software house of a German company present in Italy, underlined how information technology now offers tools to optimize transport, make it more sustainable and citizen-friendly. Presenting the latest software solution, PTV SmartTour, spoke in this sense of the 'holistic transformation of the logistics system, of people and things' through systems that allow fewer kilometers, less polluting emissions and lower costs.

Video: Last Mile Delivery - Logistics - Startup Guide for Entrepreneurs By Nayan Bheda (October 2020).