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Supply Chain Management

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The development of technology has greatly changed the business model of supply string management. Companies adopt sophisticated information technology to keep the information flow fluently and shared among all the stakeholder. In addition to the given it, lots of machines or devices has come to exist to help automated the supply chain process, and as a total result, the labor cost and human error could be reduced. Amazon recently acquires the Kiva System, which provides robots who are able to move the inventory to the right places.

Google’s self-driving vehicle just completed the traveling test over the nations with only 1 incident – the self-driving vehicle is strike with a careless drivers. You can imagine how it will change the supply chain world. Another information that amazes me is a ongoing company named Linkall, that was created by several recently graduate Chinese students, created an unmanned plane which is used for package deal deliver. When people talk about drone, they could think of weapon, military, and can connect it to our daily life rarely.

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Linkall created a drone called SmartBee to provide delivery service. Imagine you get starving after work in the midnight, and order some food online; after a while, your food is shipped by this unmanned plane and you don’t even need to go downstair. The following picture is the first prototype of the drone. The drone is surrounded by four propeller blades, which enable the drone to fly vertically.

It has a “hand” in the bottom of the airplane, which could get the package that’ll be delivered. The united team is working on an improving version of the first prototype. They want to redesign the drone to make it more customer-friendly. They want to make sure that when the package is received by the customers, they don’t feel just like they get the deal from a frosty machine.

Hu Jiaqi, one of the cofounder of the Linkall, said that they designed the drone to handle to “the last one mile” delivery problem in urban city. Generally, more costs occur over the last one mile of the delivery. The logistics company decrease the cost by delivery the products in batch, so they could spread out the set cost.

Since the destination may spread over the cities during the last one mile, it could require more delivery man in this step. As the labor cost increase, it becomes a more and more important problems. The drone could improve the same-city deliver, like the food delivery. The next diagram shows the pick-up process for the drone.

It first lands on the getting area, and then it will be put on the conveyor. Then it’ll go through the 3D Scan Tester, to check whether the drone have damages. If so, the drone will be shifted to the maintenance/parking area. If not, or following the repair, the drone will get charge and grab the package, standing by the next flight.

For the security reason, the business want to limit the conversation between the drone and the customers. They designed a deliver box that will be hung beyond your building of the customers. The package will be dropped right to the box. Of course, you may still find a lot of problems for this business model. Recently, US government has approve the commercial use of drone, but China does not have a explicit law with this issue. There’s also other option to address the “last one mile” problem.