The effect of e-commerce on manufacturing and other businesses is sometimes referred to as the “Amazon effect” (Amazon being a popular e-commerce site where you can buy and sell just about anything). Even industries like trailer and truck body manufacturing have experienced the impact of online buying and selling.
A Relay Race Rather Than a Marathon
The trail of transportation for purchased goods can be a long one indeed. It would be easy to picture the route it takes as a marathon as goods travel from one faraway destination to their final stop – your door. But there is so much more to it than that, making it more of a relay. There are numerous stops along the way where the freight can change hands.
Legs of the relay can include intermodal, rail, air freight, LTL, a truckload carrier, ocean freight, and parcel delivery. And races can be lost or won, all thanks to the final leg of the race – the anchor. That needs to be the most reliable and the fastest. Unfortunately, it is frequently the most expensive which is why this leg of the race is undergoing its current transformation.
The shopper used to be the final anchor but has dropped out of the race. Today’s buyer sits at a computer, punches a few buttons, and then waits for the relay race to transport their goods to their mailbox, post office, business office, or front door. What’s more, online shoppers today want it fast and free. And that is quite possibly the hardest order to fill.
Shoppers Want It Now, and They Want It Delivered Fast
The importance of on-time and speedy delivery has become so crucial that many companies responsible for trucking are forced to pay a penalty if the load arrives later that its scheduled arrival time. It is more important now than ever to be reliable and speedy. Vehicles must be able to quickly maneuver through heavy traffic; cargo space must be maximally optimized, trailers and trucks must be versatile and used optimally. And in order for this entire process not to cost manufacturers exorbitant amounts (remember, buyers want their goods delivered for free) it must be done as economically as possible.
Changing Modes of Transportation
Whereas massive trucks and trailers will always be part of the equation, many delivery systems are turning to smaller vehicles for deliveries within assigned neighborhoods. This downsized choice for the last leg of the race is not being applied everywhere by any means. But it seems to be a developing trend at this turning point in a system that is rapidly undergoing change.
Also making this mode of delivery a popular one indeed is the fact that any number of today’s consumers automatically get diapers, water, detergent, garbage bags, etc. delivered to their door on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so that they don’t have to shop. Smaller, customized delivery trucks full of these items will be seen more and more, making the delivery process more economical.
What’s In Store?
If you question a trailer and truck body manufacturing specialist what they think the future of final mile operations is That last leg of the relay), they may be hard-pressed to come up with an answer. That final mile is, after all, where much of the cost of transportation lies. As it changes, the entire industry is being revolutionized.
One thing is certain, however, and that is that trailers and trucks will continue to play a major part in the e-commerce industry. And without reliable and ever-changing systems of more local delivery, shoppers would be forced to leave their homes and travel to the old brick-and-mortar stores again; rather than sit on the computer and wait for their goods to arrive at the door. Since that is very likely never going to fly, delivery trucks have not only a solid future but will be adapting to the changing needs e-commerce and its advocates dictate.