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Supply Chain News: Lots of News on the eFulfillment Front Last Week


Walmart Testing Deliveries by Employees on Way Home,  Domino's Australia Wants a 10 Minute Delivery Cycle, UPS Joint Venture with Chinese Parcel Firm

June 5, 2017
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Lots of news on the efulfillment front last week, as is often the case.

First, reports last week that Walmart s testing a program that sends store employees to deliver on-line orders at the end of their shifts, in what is call the "associate delivery" program.

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Zume Pizza, uses robots to assemble pizzas in a warehouse, then bakes them in trucks roving around neighborhoods, waiting for orders.

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Workers can opt in to earn extra money by making deliveries using their own cars. They're assigned packages based on where they live so the route aligns with their commute home, the company said last week in a blog post. The test recently began at two stores in New Jersey and one in Arkansas

Walmart is again seeing how it can leverage its physical store presence to gain an advantage over Amazon, with some 90% of US residents living within 10 miles of a Walmart store.

"Now imagine all the routes our associates drive to and from work and the houses they pass along the way," Marc Lore, chief executive of Wamart's US online operations, wrote on the company website.

Ravi Jariwala
, a Walmart spokesman, said all those employees driving home represent a "very dense web" of potential delivery locations for the company.

Employees who want to participate will be able to use an app to specify how many packages they are willing to deliver, Jariwala said, as well as the weight and size limits on the packages.

Jariwala would not provide details about how workers would be paid, but said the company would comply with all federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.

You may recall a couple of years ago Walmart's innovation center said it was looking at the idea of having customer deliver packages on their way home from the store. (See Multi-Channel Fulfillment Wars Continue on, as Walmart Makes a Lot of News.)

Meanwhile, the company that owns the Domino's Pizza rights in Australia is working hard to find a way to deliver a fresh pie in just 10 minutes from the time an order is placed.

In fact, Domino's says more than 60% of its Australian stores generally deliver in under 23 minutes already, with some metropolitan stores much closer to the 10-minute goal.

To achieve its objective of pizza delivered in 10 minutes, Domino's Australia has put in faster-cooking ovens in some stores, is tinkering with how many toppings are managed and prepared, and using new electric bikes for delivery personnel on some occasions.


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It has also tested delivery via drones in New Zealand, and in recent months worked with Starship Technologies to try out the company's on-ground delivery robots at some German and Dutch locations. Many other firms are targeting fast pizza delivery as well, such as Zume Pizza, a Mountain View, Calif., startup that uses robots to assemble pizzas in a warehouse, then bakes them in trucks roving around neighborhoods, waiting for orders.

The efulfillment wars have come to pizza and other restaurant meals as well.

Finally, UPS has created a joint venture with SF Express, the largest parcel carrier in China, in a combination that will initially focus on shipping goods from China to the US, for which demand is said to be "surging."

With Chinese businesses increasingly targeting global markets, chiefly through on-line sales, UPS aims to help them gain "access to the world," said Ross McCullough, the company's president for Asia Pacific.

The benefits of the marriage seems to be S.F. Express' penetration with huge numbers of small to mid-size manufacturers in China combined with UPS' vast global network to get goods from within China to offshore markets, starting with the US but soon moving to Europe deliveries as well, the companies say. It certainly is a new world in logistics.

After several years in the doldrums, air shipping volumes are again on the rise, driven by ecommerce, with volumes growing at their fastest pace in seven years in March, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Any reaction to the efulfillment niews? Will Walmart store employees deliveries work? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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