Forbes has made a number of eye-catching predictions indicating that we’ve unequivocally entered the era of online commerce. Nearly 21% of all retail purchases in the US are expected to take place online in 2023, and the US eCommerce market will surpass $1.1T in sales in 2023, compared to $6.3T globally. In order to keep up with the nature of consumer demands and preferences, brands and retailers are adopting a hyperlocal approach to logistics in order to adapt to the direction of today’s rapidly changing market.
However, a common misconception about hyperlocal logistics is that it’s only being adopted in retail; retailers aren’t the only ones who are switching over to a hyperlocal approach in order to gain from the benefits. As a matter of fact, hyperlocal logistics has caught the attention of companies across a variety of sectors, including automotive, manufacturing, telecom, distribution, food & beverage, hospitality and more. In other words, it’s not only consumers who need things “right here, right now” but companies and brands do as well.
Understanding The Basics of Hyperlocal Logistics
Simply put, hyperlocal logistics is the proximity-based logistical strategy that enables companies to deliver their goods in as little as just a few hours, or in some cases, even in the same moment.
For example, retailers are deploying hyperlocal logistics to place their products in the hands of their customers in shockingly little time, ultimately using logistics to create customer satisfaction, retention, and brand loyalty. From clothing, accessories and electronics, to groceries, pharmaceuticals and other daily goods, the steady integration of online shopping into day-to-day activities has introduced convenience as a leading factor in purchasing decisions. As customers expect a wide variety of products to be available with increasingly quick delivery times, retailers are switching over to hyperlocal logistics to fulfill their backend operations (and therefore delivery time), equally fast.
What Makes Hyperlocal Logistics A Winning Strategy?
There are two key ingredients to deploying hyperlocal logistics successfully; proximity and automation. The objective is to position needed items as close as possible to those who need them and to automate manual processes in order to promote access. By eliminating distances and cutting retrieval processes, companies are able to save enormous time and gain operational speed. In many industries, companies are deploying hyperlocal logistics by establishing small equipment centers in service areas to significantly streamline operations in a manner that saves time for employees. Let’s take a closer look at where the benefits of hyperlocal logistics impact companies to gain a practical understanding of how it works.
One such example in the manufacturing sector. Before implementing hyperlocal logistics, employees in factories and assembly lines often leave their work stations to retrieve missing parts or accessories, and walk considerable distances to their on-site warehouse, which is also poorly organized, in order to locate the equipment they need. This often involves spending significant time in the workday walking, searching for items, and returning them when finished – a process that is repeated by dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of employees on a regular basis, which creates perpetual time wastage that goes unaccounted for.
In adopting hyperlocal logistics, manufacturing companies are adding backrooms on factory floors and production areas to provide access to frequently used parts, tools, equipment and other resources required for various tasks. These backrooms are space-efficient, automated modules that essentially replace the everyday purpose of giant warehouses in the roles of employees who use them to complete tasks. Applying proximity and automation, they’re located strategically throughout the relevant areas in facilities and are built to be paired with robotic retail automation solutions meaning they function autonomously in storing, organizing, and providing the appropriate items to employees when needed, all while being closeby to employees. By stocking such items in close proximity to where they’re being used and keeping them readily available for immediate use, companies are able to drastically minimize time wastage, increase pace of productivity, and optimize processes.
Much like manufacturing companies, telecom companies experience inefficiencies due to the manner in which they currently operate. Regular occurrences in the field include scenarios in which technicians aren’t well-positioned to perform as a result of a lack of systems and strategic storage. In many instances, technicians don’t have the necessary equipment for their tasks, causing inconveniences and delays in their arrival at job-sites with customers, or their ability to complete tasks in a timely manner, having to retrieve the proper equipment from large company warehouses that are often long distances away and even compromising customer satisfaction. In many cases, technicians are required to keep and maintain a vast array of tools and equipment, such as converters and fiber boxes, in order to avoid the constant, time-consuming need to visit central warehouses to restock. For this reason, technicians often keep their vehicles loaded with expensive equipment for long periods of time, which often leads it to wear down in the absence of proper maintenance, be misplaced or even stolen at the expense of the companies.
By switching to a hyperlocal approach to logistics, telecom companies too can address many of their operational shortcomings and set their technicians up for success. In applying autonomous modules like manufacturing companies, telecom companies can provide distribution points with all the relevant tools and equipment their technicians use for their different tasks. This relieves them of the need to carry entire vehicles of equipment or frequently visit warehouses, and enables them to operate within a geographical radius from the modules while traveling using vehicles that are more practically sized, such as smaller cars rather than vans and trucks. With such an approach, telecom companies can cut significant time spent on retrieving items while avoiding the frequently associated inconveniences, therefore shortening service and installation times, increasing fiber deployment, and providing services for a higher volume of daily customers.
Companies across many sectors suffer from such inefficiencies resulting from a lack of adaptive systems and strategic storage, all of which can be addressed with hyperlocal logistics.
Hyperlocal Logistics & The Future
In today’s day and age in which speed, efficiency and dependability run the world, logistical excellence is a powerful advantage in any sector. As companies of all kinds are beginning to embrace hyperlocal logistics or hyperlocal nano fulfillment centers as a winning strategy that enables them to achieve their objectives with remarkably greater speed and practicality, this approach is emerging as the doorway to dynamic productivity in an ever-changing world.