Roland Dürre
Saturday November 26th, 2011

Wastefulness! #1 The Last Mile of the Parcel Service

As “predicted”, I now start a new series “Wastefulness“. It is not intended to be constant grumbling. Instead, I consider it more an instigation for getting thoughtful.

A biker is always close to the normal traffic. You have time to study the cars and their drivers at leasure.
What, for instance, strikes me, is that surprisingly many car drivers smoke while driving. Perhaps that is because they are no longer allowed to smoke anywhere else?

But doesn’t that distract you and you cannot concentrate on driving any more? Especially if you use your second hand for holding the cell-phone you are talking into?

This is how it happens in our quiet town of Riemerling. I almost get the impression that individualized motor-traffic is a little on the decline. Now would that not be a nice surprise? However, this is not so, because there are now new participants in the general traffic. And they get more and more.

I am talking all those many cars that supply us with Pizza and other Home&Fast Food (except they never supply me). The Iceman and the beverage supplier. The Caritas and the newspaper delivery service. And in particular all the DHL, Hermes, UPS, GLS, Südpost cars, along with all the other new private postal service cars.

There is hardly any time I ride my bike anywhere, no matter what time of day, when I do not come across at least one parcel service vehicle. Sometimes you can identify them from what is written on the truck. But there are also some neutral delivery and dispatch vehicles. You can only tell what they are from their particularly hectic driving and parking styles and the poor condition of their vehicles. They often break quite surprisingly and intensely, the driver will haste out, carrying a folder or package to a front door. Of course, the motor will not be switched off. The driver will haste back, jump into his car and press the accelerator full throttle.

All those vehicles have one thing in common: they often cover long distances and, relative to this, do rather little delivering.

🙂 MaxiMini instead of  MiniMax!
(maximum effort and minimum creation of value instead of the other way around)

Here is what I think in these situations:

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could organize “the last mile“ for package and other “product delivery“ services better? After all, in telecommunications, there is also only one agency supplying all houses? What we need is a regional storage and delivery service that can optiize the routes for all packages and parcels.

Perhaps they could even use electric cars specially designed for the purpose? And maybe even twice a day? Just imagine what you could save – and at the same time you could improve the service.

But isn’t that what we had. It used to be called federal postal service. And here is what I predict: there will be a time when all those private postal services will again be state-owned (for instance because they will go bankrupt and because such a parallel service does not make sense economically).

When the time comes, I hope the result will be an enterprise that is organized in a modern way. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with one company having exclusive rights. Because I can easily imagine that state-owned companies can also be well organized. All you have to do is get rid of old habits.

And I also believe that there are quite a few infra-structure services (energy, communications, traffic, public supply) where “getting rid of old habits“ would have been a far better option than the privatization orgy we had to witness.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

1 Kommentar zu “Wastefulness! #1 The Last Mile of the Parcel Service”

  1. rd (Monday November 28th, 2011)

    Folgender Kommentar hat mich erreicht:

    Warum alte Zöpfe, sind das nicht die neuen Locken, die Probleme machen? Die Bundesbahn wurde doch vor langer Zeit ganz gut geführt. Es gab doch nur das Problem einer falschen Priorisierung der Infrastruktur. Straße vor Instandhaltung und Verbesserung des Schienennetzes. Beides durch Steuern finanzierte Maßnahmen.

    Dem stimme ich völlig zu. Mit alten Zöpfen habe ich ein falsch verstandenes Beamtensystem gemeint. Aber wahrscheinlich war auch das gar nicht so schlecht, zumindest besser als überwiegend “Angestellte” in innerer Kündigung. 🙁

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