Making Waves (Part 4): E-commerce Last Mile Delivery Innovators

Tech solutions for last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know by now that the supply chain logistics industry is changing.  The huge increase in e-commerce sales, omnichannel retail and need for Direct-to Consumer last mile delivery is increasing the speed and need for technological innovation.

Today we take a brief look at two companies that have developed technology solutions to aid in meeting these complex business challenges.


6 River Systems

Ideal for fulfillment operations, 6 River Systems provides solutions that enable faster picking operations at a lower cost than that of traditional automation.  Their core solution, referred to as “Chuck” acts as a drop in replacement for a warehouse cart picking operation.

Companies that utilize traditional automation, often report that this requires them to trade flexibility for productivity.

Companies that utilize traditional automation, often report that this requires them to trade flexibility for productivity.  Chuck does not require an infrastructure, wires, stickers or cables to move around the warehouse.  Cutting edge sensors enable the device to navigate around the warehouse on any time of flooring including rack-supported mezzanine without an infrastructure. Chuck helps to keep warehouse workers on task, leading them through their work zones and pacing them through their tasks to enable more efficient, accurate operations.  By relying on cloud-based servers that integrate with warehouse management software, Chuck can readily be used in all putaway, picking sorting and counting activities.

Using state-of-the-art battery technology for rapid recharging, a single charge enables Chuck to for two shifts.  A “work horse”, the device is capable of carrying a maximum payload of 160 pounds.  Configurable slots and lighting help to support the tote and carton configurations specific to each operation.

Implementation of a solution ideal for your warehouse operation needs begins by creating a zone picking strategy that is designed to reduce walking in the warehouse.  This enables Chuck to lead warehouse workers through their zones, displaying essential information regarding tasks ahead of time.  By using this strategy, warehouse workers spend less time finding the correction location, item and quantity to complete each task.

As tasks are completed on one Chuck, another Chuck is already in position, ready to take over to keep the workers focused on task.

As businesses that are highly focused on ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment recognize, the need to process orders more quickly and accurately and in greater volumes is acute.  Today’s consumer expects to place an order online and have it delivered to the front door in a few short days.  Having the ability to handle a high volume of D2C orders, especially at times of seasonal variation, is a game changer for a 3PL, warehouse operator, courier or transportation & logistics service provider. Within the 6 River Systems Collaborative Fulfillment System (CFS) is a cloud-based server which coordinates all work on the warehouse floor.  This helps to ensure maximum utilization and efficiency. According to 6 River Systems, Chuck improves doubles to triples the cart pick rate and because there is no new infrastructure needed, go live can occur in 4 to 6 weeks.  With a typical 12-18 month payback, the system facilitates fast training so that businesses can begin to see improvement quickly.



In the fast paced world of e-commerce and last mile delivery, having access to a routing solution can make the difference between on time deliveries and dissatisfied customers.
Due to the popularity and growing interest in on-demand services, especially for home delivery, small businesses are more interested than ever before in harnessing technology to provide a competitive advantage. Today, effective last mile logistics providers often turn to companies that can provide vehicle routing solutions so that delivery routes can be optimized and problems such as traffic, driver shift times and breaks, priority stops and other issues can be mitigated.

Routific solutions help businesses manage a fleet of multiple drivers and enables management of multiple stops in an efficient manner.  Originally made available through an API, Routific is now available via a new web interface.  The Routific solution starts with a list of drivers and delivery stops then plots on an optimized route in only seconds.  Once the route has been created, it can be sent to each delivery driver so that it can be viewed on a mobile phone.

Routific route planning takes into account multiple factors including the type of vehicles, visit types, time windows, load capacities as well as traffic.  The company reports that its routes are up to 40 % shorter and includes an algorithm  “that can outperform even the best dispatchers”.

The Routific solution can be utilized to plan out delivery routes on a specific day or shift.  If running an on-demand delivery service, the route can be updated in real time using incoming requests as well as the continually changing locations of the delivery fleet vehicles.

Routific solutions can be used anywhere in the world. The company works closely with a range of companies from startups and SMBs to Fortune 100 companies.

In short, Routific is a simple, easy to use tool that aids in saving transportation & logistics providers time, money and frustration.  By utilizing the Routific vehicle routing solution, businesses are better able to provide better customer service and keep delivery costs down, resulting in higher levels of customer satisfaction and a competitive advantage in today’s challenging marketplace.

In Summary

As the supply chain changes from a simple pallet in-pallet out model to goods shipped in tremendous volume directly to the homes of consumers, the industry must change.  Being able to handle large volumes of transactions quickly, picking each item individually rather than by the pallet is a business necessity for 3PLs and warehouse and distribution center operators.  With the shortage of supply chain labor resources, warehouse and third party logistics operators are turning to technology for help.

6 River Systems provides innovative technology solutions to enable flexible, highly productive operations by leading warehouse workers throughout their workday.  This cost effective solution does not require new infrastructure and can produce measurable results in less than two years.

As the need for D2C last mile logistics soars along with the amount of traffic and transportation & logistics cost, supply chain businesses are turning to Routific, a vehicle routing solution for help.  By optimizing routes for last mile delivery, companies are better positioned to provide an excellent customer experience, key to brand recognition and consumer approval.


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