June 21th, 2019

App design – Avoiding the „last mile“ with mobile Packstations

Ideation & Design Study

Introduction

This is just an app design concept for an idea I had some time ago. But I think, this idea could solve a problem that many people and logistic companies have every day. Since I will not pursue this idea further myself, I release the idea to the general public. Feel free to use any aspect of it. I would be happy, to see mobile Packstations one day.

I am also aware that there are many approaches to solving the problem of the last mile in delivery. For example, there is a Google patent describing self-driving delivery cars. Anyway, here is my idea and maybe the approaches can be combined.

Problem

As a recipient of deliveries, I am often annoyed that I cannot be at home when packages are delivered. For example, I’m eagerly waiting for my new iPhone. Then I come home from work and find a notification that it has been delivered to the nearest post office – that is already closed.

On the other side, logistic companies like DHL or FedEx are complaining about workload growing too fast and the huge costs of the last mile.

DHL is already offering the Packstation. The problem is, that the next Packstation is usually far away from my home and is not on my way home either. I would love to have one next door – but DHL would never get permission to build one, because the whole area where I live is protected as a historic monument.

Summary: Packstations are useful, but not usable for many people.

Mobile Packstations?

I’m going to make two assumptions now. First, logistic companies are able to actually build mobile Packstations and secondly, they get permission to distribute them in the streets.

How could a mobile Packstation look? Actually, they could look like current Packstations but on wheels. Maybe, the delivery and removal of packs could be easier? Just one door and all the magic happens inside? Of course, the Packstations must be secured – with GPS, Camera and connected to the internet for live data transmission.

Would it be allowed to distribute the Packstations? I think yes. The advantages for the general public outweigh the occupancy of one parking lot. And when I look at the countless cars of car sharing companies like Car2Go or DriveNow, parking all over the streets, logistics companies should also be allowed to do so. And of course, Packstations are not parking permanently – always depending on the load in the area.

Conclusion

The advantage over traditional Packstations is that they are much more present and often in the immediate vicinity. This will increase the usage a lot.

In case of a tremendous ressource bottleneck of the logistics company, they could offer cash back. Or if no one is at home, the postman could also deposit the delivery in the nearest mobile packing station – instead of bringing it to the shop.

There are many ways to develop this idea.

I would be happy to receive your comments.

David Bühn