Germany ó A century ago, it wasnít unusual for households, even
middle class households, to have servants. The number has declined
precipitously due to technology, rendering hired help a luxury.
fixed? Pull out your smartphone and request a prepared meal kit from
any number of companies such as Blue Apron or HelloFresh. The mealís
pre-measured ingredients come to your door; all you do is assemble
them and cook. And why run to a store for a few household items when
so many companies will deliver them to your door? Never mind sending
the maid or driving yourself to the store, the store comes to you.
This has had a
major impact on the shipping industry, which is growing as much as
10 percent annually according to McKinsey. In developing countries,
such as India, growth is more than 100 percent.
biggest issue is, especially these days, is that there is not enough
capacity out there to deliver the parcels to the customers,"
said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
this growth is the need for instant gratification. Almost 25 percent
of consumers will pay more for same-day delivery, according to
McKinseyís report. This share is expected to increase given that
more than 30 percent of younger consumers choose same-day delivery
instead of regular delivery. But while consumers want quick
delivery, only 2 percent are willing to pay enough to make instant
delivery viable. This makes the final part of delivery, known as the
last mile, a crucial part of the delivery. It also accounts more
than 50 percent of delivery cost.
logistical challenge is being tackled by one of e-commerceís key
suppliers: Mercedes-Benz, which builds the full-size Sprinter van.
forthcoming line of redesigned Sprinter vans, first introduced in
the United States in 1995 and updated in 2010, are evolving into
more than transportation as connectivity is integrated for the first
time. Company officials see the new vans becoming an essential tool
in a companyís IT infrastructure. Mornhinweg characterizes the
third-generation Sprinters as "a unique, holistic transport
solution: a completely networked van as part of the Internet of
that, the company is introducing Mercedes Pro, a telematics system
that communicates between fleet manager and driver, providing
vehicle status, vehicle logistics, fleet communications, maintenance
management, accident recovery and a digital vehicle log. The
web-based service enables managers to optimize a driverís
efficiency by providing a vehicleís location, fuel level and
maintenance intervals in real time. The system can even track the
items in the Sprinters cargo hold. This allows companies to load the
vehicle efficiently and track inventory, and provides an efficient
way to alert a driver about job changes and reroute the van to
guarantee to timely deliveries.
details of the new van will become available when it debuts next
month, Mercedes-Benz officials have said that the new Sprinter will
be offered in three wheelbases, four body lengths, three roof
heights, four powertrains, and four instrument panels, which are
offered in various configurations of storage compartments,
cupholders, infotainment options, and climate controls. All models
will have push-button start and new driver-assistance features.
will include gas and diesel engines, although whether the
battery-electric eSprinter model makes it to the United States
remains to be seen, although it will be offered in Europe. "In
some cities, it makes a lot of sense. Take New York City; itís the
perfect kind of environment," Mornhinweg said. "A bit of
demand has to be there or else itís a waste of money when the
customer is not really there."
the road, beyond electrification, Mercedes-Benz is looking at adding
drones to enhance last mile delivery efficiency. "When we talk
about delivery beyond the van, the sidewalk robots or drones, I
think this will still take a while because you have to clear some
regulations first," he said. "We are still doing pilots
with American customers in the field of the last mile, we have some
projects in place."
Sprinters, the new vans will be built at a new $500 million facility
in South Carolina.
Sprinter is the flagship of our commercial fleet and embodies our
approach towards an integrated system solution," Mornhinweg
said. "We see a lot of customers are asking for this kind of
European style and we think itís great."