Over the past two years, we’ve witnessed accelerated transformation across the entire post and courier industry. In response to the pandemic, Posts and couriers around the world rolled out technology which was quickly adopted by consumers looking for more choices, and greater convenience, while placing a premium on safety. From greater adoption of self-service options to faster and more convenient delivery choices, many trends from the past two years will continue to accelerate in 2022.
While one could say post offices have been in a continual state of transformation, we’ll see greater development in this area this year, particularly as it relates to supporting the delivery side of operations. There has been remarkable growth in parcels as a result of e-commerce, and postal operators will increasingly look to their retail network to support delivery and alleviate capacity constraints. Very few couriers and delivery companies in this space have such a large retail network in place that spans the country. So in 2022, Posts will continue to leverage their country-wide retail network of post offices and PUDO locations for out-of-home delivery, especially as this has become a preferred delivery option for customers.
Building on the previous trend, the last few years has seen intense competition in the last mile delivery space. And this will only get stronger moving forward. Blackstone continues to snap up warehouses at a blistering pace as it sets its sights on dominating the delivery warehouse space —more specifically, renting out premium delivery warehouses to e-commerce vendors who are all locked in a race for executing on faster and faster deliveries. Prologis, a veteran in this market, is also intensifying its efforts, acquiring and leasing warehouse delivery space too. Scott Galloway provides a nice overview of the venture capital and private equity funds pouring into the last mile rapid delivery market and shares his perspectives on the current state of this space. But the bottom line is that e-commerce is not slowing down this year or next year, and customers are really getting used to near-instant delivery. Posts and delivery companies who can provide the right offering (in a cost-effective way) to grocery, retailers, and e-commerce providers will profit handsomely!
With world governments and other stakeholders focused on cutting carbon emissions, every person on the planet is expected to do their part to reduce their carbon footprint. The truth is, faster and faster delivery can be quite carbon-intensive if care is not taken to do it correctly. This is why we’ll increasingly hear more discussion around fast delivery and its effects on the environment. So how can Posts do their part? Optimizing delivery routes is a great start, as well as offering more out-of-home delivery options to customers to minimize the number of individual delivery truck stops and general time on the road. Another suggestion is mobile postmen and postwomen. This is also a way Posts can help reduce their carbon footprint. When postal carriers are equipped with the right mobile devices and software, they can carry out many more transactions and even handle additional services while on their regular routes, effectively helping to consolidate multiple trips into one.
As smaller and smaller urban delivery warehouses come into operation, the use of robotics and automation for last-mile delivery will continue to rise. Why? Robotics and supporting technologies help make use of these smaller spaces which are closer to the customer. Smaller hubs make delivery much simpler, more manageable, and much faster. But automation throughout a Post’s entire operations will continue to grow in 2022. In Escher’s 2021 Future of Posts report, automation was cited as a top focus for Posts. Automation will not only help Posts reduce costs, but with technologies like OCR, it will help increase overall throughput, improve accuracy, and more.
We’ve only scratched the surface of many of the trends developing this year. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well about the trends shaping your Post. Connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn and share your perspectives.