Tribune. No more than a top hour between order and delivery, whether it's to receive a sushi platter, the latest smartphone model, baby diapers or a washing machine. In Singapore, in the past two years, delivery in up to sixty minutes has become the norm. These express deliveries are also widespread in Seoul, Korea; Tesco group stores have been testing the formula in London since 2018; and the largest French cities may not stay out of this speed race for long.
A social disaster? Ken Loach denounced in his latest film “Sorry we missed you”, the deplorable living conditions of the deliverers. Without social protection and without real independence from their principal, their profession is presented by the filmmaker as the symbol of the faults of neoliberal society.
But our research with Singapore delivery companies shows how the current trend towards ultra-fast deliveries could actually improve the lot of these professionals and the quality of local public services (“E-retailers and the engagement of delivery workers in urban last-mile delivery for sustainable logistics value creation: leveraging legitimate concerns under time-based marketing promise”, Ronan de Kervenoael, Alexandre Schwob, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, to be published in May 2020).
An original economic model
As long as we listen to the proposals coming from the actors in the field themselves. These shortened deadlines, the Singapore deliverers told us, greatly reduce the number of closed doors they encounter. Consumers are, this time, almost always there to receive the items ordered. A significant advantage.
But beyond that, they showed us the possibility of an original economic model in which they could be remunerated both by the companies for which they deliver packages, but also by the municipal authorities, by consumers or their families.
Already in Singapore, their crossed eyes are helping to streamline the transport networks because they report traffic incidents or accidents to the authorities in real time. They also warn each time they spot a hole in the pavement, an act of vandalism, tags, illegal dumping of garbage. A decentralized alert system that improves the responsiveness of municipal emergency, road and cleanliness services.