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Foot delivery in conjunction with vans is the future for sustainable deliveries

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More than ever, 2020 was the year of shopping online and home deliveries and there are few signs of slowing down in 2021. Therefore, the increase in purchases on digital platforms has placed delivery services under pressure, both to be able to leave the goods at the customers’ doorsteps, and to be able to quickly and efficiently.

Ford is therefore working with Hermes to test a sustainable delivery service, which may not only reduce the carbon footprint caused by orders delivered in an urban environment, but also allow it to do so more timely. This innovative approach is designed to provide cleaner air and clearer roads.

THE software Smart MoDe: Link from Ford coordinates traditional delivery vans with distributors who operate on foot, being able to identify appropriate parking locations near multiple delivery addresses. From that point, the last stage of delivery is done on foot.

If adopted, this initiative could make the use of vans more profitable and help to reduce environmental pollution and traffic congestion.

Smart deliveries

The MoDe: Link, the software Ford’s Intelligent Logistics, identifies safe and appropriate places to deliver to parcel parcel distributors on foot, coordinating these teams while delivering to locations such as skyscrapers or commercial and residential buildings.

Distribution drivers use a simple app for smartphones which advises them on the best place to park the vans, also showing the most economical routes and itineraries for delivering orders. The application integrates with Hermes’ location systems to ensure that customers are able to see, in real time, the status of their orders.

Foot delivery in conjunction with vans is the future for

It is a comprehensive system that plans the journey from end to end for each order, ensuring that deliveries, whether at the beginning, at the exit of the distribution center, on the road, or at the end, on foot, delivered at the door , are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Ford and Hermes started testing this system in the city of London, but will now explore and extend the pilot project to other parts of the UK.

The delivery last mile it’s just one of the aspects that Ford is exploring in what connected technologies can help cities look cleaner. A recent study, carried out in three major European cities, demonstrated how the blockchain and dynamic georeferenced areas can complement hybrid vehicles plug-in, such as the Ford Transit Custom PHEV, and contribute to improving air quality, thereby benefiting cities, citizens and operators.

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Signs of success

Hermes is one of the UK’s leading delivery specialists, handling more than 630 million orders last year. This partnership with Ford was launched last September by the Hermes Innovation Lab team in central London and was put to the test in one of the busiest periods of 2020 when it comes to parcel deliveries.

By working during the peak of the Christmas period, the pilot service responded to an unprecedented demand for home delivery services. Operating in conjunction with a team of eight walking dealers, located in three different delivery zones, two Ford Transit vans delivered the same number of orders as six other vehicles that delivered conventional deliveries to customers’ doors. This, in addition to having done it more quickly.

The human factor

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In an industry that has to compete to recruit distribution drivers in order to respond to customer demand, the foot delivery model opens the door to a new set of workers who no longer need to know how to drive or own a vehicle.

With distributors on foot delivering up to about fifty orders per shift, health and well-being benefits also enter the equation; and distributors can also benefit from flexible work patterns that allow them to better combine their private and family lives. During the Ford test, teams of professional walking distributors in the hospitality sector were unable to work due to containment measures.

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