By Keith Kellison, senior vice president, UPS Global Public Affairs When we say “neighborhood logistics,” what we really mean is serving everyday people like me and you better than ever before. At UPS, that’s nothing new. Since our start in 1907, we’ve gone through a host of transformations. From the early days of delivering by bike, to the first package cars, to next-day air shipments, UPS has led the way in meeting customers’ demands. Quickly responding to changes in those demands is paramount. Logistics services work for customers when they are efficient, timely, secure, and affordable. And so as consumer habits evolve, we need to keep pace. Customers today are ordering everything from books to bathroom basics via the Internet. This forces logistics providers to look for ways to improve their delivery networks. In some cases, this takes the form of robust technological advances, like UPS’ ORION system, the most sophisticated route optimization tool available, reducing miles traveled and idle time — good for the environment and keeps customers’ costs down. Sometimes, though, even the simplest ideas might have a huge impact. As just one example, let’s take the mailbox. In the past, when most mail was letters, mailboxes were smaller, typically 8 x 11 inches. In fact, the design was so entwined with envelopes that in the 1930s Congress granted the U.S. Postal Service exclusive access to the “letter box.” But, as letter mail volume has decreased and parcel volume increased, mailboxes have grown. Pass through any neighborhood and you’ll see bigger boxes to accommodate small parcels like eyeglasses, designer clothes, and even time-sensitive groceries. Given this demand, and the fact that consumers own the mailboxes, doesn’t it make sense to no longer restrict mailbox deliveries? (Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox.) Customers would benefit from reduced delivery costs, additional flexibility, and the knowledge that their packages are safe. Of course, qualifications may be required to ensure security and that mailboxes are not over-crowded. But the good news is that the U.S. wouldn’t be the first to lift the restrictions. For years, third parties in Europe have been allowed to deliver parcels to mailboxes, with no security issues. If it’s worked there for so long, why can’t it work here? After the restrictions are lifted, we can continue advancing neighborhood logistics. Electronic delivery notifications and boxes with temperature controls are just two potential ideas with immediate potential. The list of opportunities is endless, but the first step is access. Just what else might neighborhood logistics encompass? We asked three other postal experts to write guest blogs offering their thoughts and predictions on the future of neighborhood logistics: The Delivery Revolution in Your Neighborhood by Jody Berenblatt, senior advisor, GrayHair Advisors Worth the Price: High Quality, Convenience, and Timeliness by Robert M. Campbell, Ph.D., president and vice-chancellor, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB Canada Carriers as Conduits by Jim Holland, research director, National Association of Letter Carriers Read what they had to say and let us know what you think, including what kind of delivery and logistical services you might want in your neighborhood. Back to the "What’s in Store for Neighborhood Logistic Services?" blog.
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