In While You’re Out: Waitrose Tests ‘In-Home’ Delivery

The delivery industry is one of the fastest evolving in the world. It’s in a state of constant change, with new technologies being developed faster than anyone can keep up with. In this industry, change is more often than not a good thing. What’s important for logistics managers is keeping up with that technology, and knowing if and how it’s likely to affect their businesses.
For delivery companies that transport courier loads on a daily basis, learning about a new initiative being trialled by supermarket giant Waitrose,may have you wondering if this is the next step for you.

Waitrose Plays it Smart with Perishables

While we’ve all heard about Amazon’s drone deliveries by now, a delivery service that gives human drivers access to a customer’s home is even more controversial – but that’s exactly what the Waitrose initiative proposes.
The service allows drivers to show up at a customer’s home with their weekly grocery delivery and, rather than leaving it on the doorstep, actually go inside the house, unpack the bags and even put all the perishable food items in the fridge or freezer (good news for the ice cream).

Smart Lock Security

Access to the home is by way of a secure app, utilising smart lock technology with a temporary code that is generated upon arrival. The driver enters the code into the lock and, voila, they’re in.
Naturally there is likely to be concern over the security (or lack thereof) of allowing a stranger into your home but, in theory at least, this is covered by a camera device worn by the driver on their chest, which films the entire process (a customer can request a copy of the footage on the next working day). Once the job is completed the entry code is deactivated, making it a one-use entry system.

A UK First

Waitrose has announced plans to trial the service in December 2018, saying that while the idea has already taken off in parts of Scandinavia and the USA, they are the first supermarket in the UK to do it.

They’ve chosen Coulsdon in South London to be the initial testing ground. Interested customers in the area must first register themselves to gain a chance of being one of the 100 lucky recipients selected to participate in this innovative trial.
During the test runs, customers will need to place an order of at least £25 and commit to a minimum of six deliveries going forward; however, Waitrose says these terms may be reviewed at the end of the trial period. They say that, if all goes well, they envisage rolling the service out to around 1,000 customers by next spring.
Courier Loads and Technology: The Perfect Partnership

Whether your company delivers courier loads that include perishables or not, it’s not hard to see how this kind of technology could change the face of delivery work – as long as it is embraced by customers. There are, of course, still concerns amongst industry experts with regards to the security, morality and logistics of utilising such a system in the future, but one thing isn’t in doubt: the future is already here.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier loads in the express freight exchange industry. Over 5,400 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.

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Author: Desiree Michels