I heard a fascinating piece on NPR this week about why dogs have such an incredible sense of smell. It turns out that dogs essentially have “stereo smelling,” which means that they are able to use each nostril independently to take in scents. Additionally, dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans. The long snout on most dogs, and it turns out that the longer the snout, the better the smeller, allows the smell to be captured, and exhaling does not interfere with the capture of scents. Dogs can also pick up traces of a scent that was left hours or even days ago. This amazing sense of smell is why dogs are the ultimate service animal. Most people know that dogs are used to sniff out missing persons and drugs and potential chemical weapons. But now, dogs have even even been trained to sniff certain kinds of cancer. It is just amazing to think of what dogs will be doing next.
And now, on to the news.
- UPS building the clean truck of the future
- DHL Supply Chain buys MIT Safetrans
- Uber plans to transform long-haul trucking
- Royal Mail buys US-based Golden State Overnight Delivery
- Walmart boosts stake in JD.com
- Hope College welcomes frozen yogurt drone delivery
UPS is conducting a rolling lab experiment to build the “clean truck” of the future. In Hamburg, Germany, due to massive amounts of congestion, large trucks are banned from the city’s streets during business hours. The restriction is part of a 20-year plan to transform the city into a “greener, healthier, vehicle-free metropolis.” This clearly creates a problem for companies like UPS. But UPS has come up with a rather creative alternative. The company now delivers packages with electric-assist cargo tricycles. Overnight, the company parks a trailer load of packages in the city center, then uses the brown UPS trikes to deliver them the next day. The tricycles have 77 cubic feet of cargo space, a range of 21 miles, and reach top speeds of 15 MPH. So far things have gone smoothly, and UPS is expanding the program to Portland, OR in the near future.
DHL Supply Chain has bought the Italian logistics provider MIT Safetrans. The goal behind the deal for DHL is to gain traction in the technological, hi-tech and life sciences, and healthcare industry in Italy. DHL will now have over 800 employees and 60 facilities in Italy. The company previously purchased Eurodifarm in 2011, with a similar goal. MIT has a distribution network of about 20 logistics centers through which the company provides highly specialized pre- and post-delivery equipment services. These range from commissioning magnetic resonance machines to ATMs to Biolab services for the sanitation of medicinal products. Both companies have agreed to keep the purchase price confidential.
Uber is planning its entry into the long-haul trucking business following its August acquisition of Otto, a startup that’s been working on developing self-driving trucks . The company is attempting to establish itself as a freight hauler, as well as a tech partner, for the trucking industry. Otto plans to expand its fleet of trucks from six to about 15 and is forging partnerships with independent truckers. Uber is currently pitching its services to shippers, fleets, and independents, going beyond Otto’s initial goal of having self-driving trucks. The Uber-Otto trucks include a host of other technologies involving navigation, mapping and tracking, which can be deployed even as work continues on self-driving systems. What was once a simple alternative to a taxi is turning into a potential logistics and delivery service. Reminds me of a company that started as an alternative to a buying books in a bookstore…
Britain’s Royal Mail Plc said on Tuesday it acquired California-based regional parcel delivery firm Golden State Overnight Delivery Service Inc. for $90 million. The company’s ground-based parcel delivery unit, General Logistics Systems, bought Golden State Overnight on a debt-free and cash-free basis, and that the acquisition would be funded from existing cash reserves. Royal Mail is looking to boost its geographic footprint, and considering Golden State Overnight generated $114 million in revenues, it is in a great position to continue to grow. Golden State Overnight will continue to function as a separate entity within General Logistics Systems.
Walmart is continuing to make an aggressive push into the Chinese e-commerce market. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer boosted its stake in China’s second-largest e-commerce website JD.com, lifting its holdings from 5.9% to 10.8%. The move is not surprising, considering that the company estimates that 25% of global e-commerce growth will come from China in the next 5 years. Alibaba continues to be the largest e-tailer in China, but Walmart is hoping that by continuing to invest in JD.com, it can take over some of that market share. Walmart has recently become very aggressive in its push to gain traction in the e-commerce world.
And finally, drones are at it again. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Chipotle is partnering with Google parent company Alphabet Inc. to test the delivery of burritos to Virginia Tech students via drones. Well, if there’s one thing students may appreciate more than burritos, its frozen yogurt. Hope College, in Holland, MI, welcomed what’s believed to be the first frozen yogurt drone delivery in the world. The drone dropped off frozen yogurt to students as part of the test run. Hope College’s Pine Grove is the only spot where Holland’s Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt will deliver via drone. It is part of a pilot delivery program titled Project Flying Orange Unicorn, and the service is by appointment only.
Looking for more logistics information? ARC’s Steve Banker, Vice President of Supply Chain, will be joining Vikram Balasubramanian, Senior Vice President of Strategic Product Development of MercuryGate, in a webinar that discusses how the explosion of e-commerce and the evolution of Omni channel fulfillment is resulting in expanded use of parcel by shippers. They webinar will educate you on how the parcel industry is changing to meet the needs of today’s supply chains, and how shippers need to maximize the use of parcel in their transportation plans. You will walk away learning how leading companies are using TMS with native parcel capabilities to maximize return on investment, optimize by mode, streamline zone skipping, and use the solution to audit their freight charges.
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend, and the song of the week, Dogs by Pink Floyd.