A crisis, contradictions…

Expert opinion

Pascal LAURENCE, General Manager, Kwikwink
Published on:
Updated on:

The disruption of an ecosystem by human influence has allowed the transmutation between species of a coronavirus (the now well-known Covid 19). The globalization of trade, particularly regarding the flow of people and goods, has led to the lockdown of more than half of the world's population!


In the current crisis, there is a notable contradiction

However, this crisis has also demonstrated the relevance of logistics chains and their robustness. Indeed, logistics chains have made it possible to ensure the continuity of supplies of so-called essential goods. – And there is the first contradiction. The post-"crisis" (health not economic, the latter will do much more damage) was promised in the light of "a world after", in which humanity would have to rethink its relationship with the world, its vision of the latter, and its modes of consumption or even existence. But “this world after” is not a “new” world.

And Man continues to try to solve problems with the same ways of thinking that created them. The proof is that lockdown has only led to the implementation of hackneyed solutions. Highlighting short consumption circuits, increasing the number of “type” applications click&collect and derivatives, payment in advance of future services to support activities affected by administrative closures.

But, what is really new in these solutions? Where are the innovations and other steps aside, the technological breakthroughs marked by a more responsible world?


Deconfinement or the end of decongestion…

Certainly, the lockdown period had at least one advantage. At least one that was easily identified. That of demonstrating the ecological effects of easing traffic flow. For example, on May the 13th, the peak of congestion in the Paris region, in terms of number of kilometers of traffic jams, was recorded at 25 kilometers. The usual figure for peak congestion is 275 kilometers on average on a reference day! This relief of congestion, more prosaically, allowed Lyon residents to see Mont Blanc again or certain Indian nationals to discover the peaks of the roof of the world, from home.

But beyond seeing the sky again, this prompts us to question the impact of traffic constraints on flow management. And beyond the impacts, it may be interesting to consider solutions to circumvent the constraints. Because and here again it is a contradiction, the health crisis has allowed decongestion but without real adaptation. It is indeed the cessation of individual transport flows resulting from the lockdown of the population or the ban on unmotivated circulation more than 100 kilometers from the place of residence which led to the decongestion.

However, the constraints are constraints of timetable, or tonnage or parking management. The solutions being tested are based on two axes. The first is the pooling of flows with a grouping of delivery areas. The second is the belief in the implementation of less polluting delivery methods (electric motors, etc.). This second axis will only be accessible by 2035 at best. And here again, where are the innovations, the side steps, the ruptures?


Changing consumption patterns

The health crisis has highlighted an increase in delivery methods. Office Neilsen indicates an increase of 45% in home delivery for consumer products (figure from March 2020). In parallel, UFC What to choose indicates an increase in 201TP3Q of consumers who intend to continue home delivery. This increase is also demonstration of the increase in the weight of e-commerce for the FMCG part, as indicated in the FEVAD barometer.

However, these increases, endemic or episodic, the future will tell us, call once again to rethink control of the last mile. Indeed, we come back to that. The concentration of flows continues to clog up the last kilometer. Just like confinement limited us to this radius distance as living space. Yet another contradiction: a global event has led to a space of physical freedom of one kilometer for French residents. However, this last kilometer is based on a paradigm, unless it is incomplete. The key to mastering the challenges of the last mile lies in the ability to travel the last meter.

Without an option on this last meter, the entire upstream value chain is doomed to failure just as no-shows are doomed to end up in depots or relay points. The absence of an effective solution in the last meter imposes excess kilometers traveled, excess ecological costs, etc., regardless of the efforts made upstream. Pooling, green technology, etc. will see their beneficial impacts become at best neutral and at worst zero. All innovation efforts must therefore be focused on the last meter to make it possible to benefit from all the previous leverage effects while maximizing the customer experience.


In the future, and for the Future, research and innovation on the last mile and the last meter are part of an approach that must take into account the notion of Smart City. However, can there be a successful Smart City without taking Smart Supply into account? The desire of Kwikwink, as a trusted third party in absentee delivery, is to bring its touch of imagination to the implementation of Smart Supply, in order to enhance both the customer experience and the control constraints of the last meter.



Read all the “Expert Opinion” articles on the SprintProject blog


Subscribe to the newsletter

Innovation, from reflection to implementation

You claim to have read our page privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time by using the unsubscribe links or by contacting us at contact@sprint-project.com

A question?
An opinion ?