Delivery is a billion-dollar business and growing – are drones and robots the answer to getting retail and medical packages to customers on-time and cost-free?December 16, 20193 min read
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for those delivering packages to houses and homes across America this holiday season it’s also the busiest one. In fact, it’s expected that Amazon alone will ship close to 300 million packages for Christmas.
Customers want their purchases quicker and cheaper and it’s changing how the landscape works.
It's estimated that free shipping will cost Amazon more than a billion dollars this quarter alone. This explains why shippers are looking at some radical new technologies to cut the cost of the last mile – and this is not just limited to the retail shopping industry.
“Technology-driven innovations such as delivery drones or driverless vehicles not only facilitate last-mile delivery, they help with the inclusion of new sets of “customers, especially those in remote locations or rural areas with poor infrastructure, says Morvarid Rahmani, assistant professor of Operations Management at Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology.
For instance, companies like UPS, CVS, and WakeMed are exploring the idea of drugs and other health-related items being delivered by drones. In a first, collaboration between the FAA and UPS partner Matternet made deliveries from a CVS pharmacy in Cary, North Carolina as well a customer’s retirement community in November.
Rahmani thinks this type of delivery shows promise. “Using drones to deliver medical packages can give rural communities access to products and medical supplies, which they would not be able to access otherwise. This delivery model is a way of incorporating social concerns and conditions of underserved populations into business practices.
Using drones to deliver medial packages is a great example of collaboration between a governmental agency and for-profit companies, which is toward the dual goals of promoting efficiency and inclusion,” she notes.
So, while most consumers are coming to terms with drone technology as a means for the Amazons of the world to replace it’s fleet of trucks, many customers are seeing the future of receiving essential, potentially life-saving drugs to their doorstep.
“These technologies enable inclusive retailing and distribution for large (excluded) communities all over the world, says Rahmani. “Successful implementation of inclusive business practices requires collaboration of for-profit firms with the public sector, civil society organizations, and communities”.CBS News - December 15, 2019
Morvarid Rahmani is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management at Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. She is an expert in the areas of research is on collaboration in work processes such as new product development, management/IT consulting, and education. Dr. Rahmani is available to speak with media regarding this topic – simple click on her icon to arrange an interview.
About Scheller College of Business
The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business is located in a state-of-the-art building in Georgia Tech’s vibrant Technology Square, the core of the Atlanta’s high-tech business community. The College offers an internationally recognized business education, including full-time, evening, and executive MBA options as well as undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees, to approximately 2,000 degree-seeking students each year. Scheller College collaborates across Georgia Tech to offer joint MS degrees in quantitative and computational finance and business analytics. Custom and open enrollment programs for executives and professionals are offered through the Huang Executive Education Center, located within the College. Interdisciplinary centers for teaching and research within the College enrich the educational experience, the campus and the community by providing a direct connection with the real world. They fuel collaborative teaching and research in some of the most relevant areas in business today: leadership, innovation, sustainability, the global enterprise, and business ethics.
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