Ford/Hermes: trial new sustainable courier service
“Being smarter about how we deliver parcels in the future will enable carriers to operate more sustainably and efficiently – while delivering a better experience for customers. Our trials with Hermes have shown how multi-modal deliveries can be scalable and effective, even during peak times of the year,” commented Tom Thompson, project lead, Ford Mobility.
Ford’s partnership with Hermes
Harnessing Ford’s smart ‘MoDe:Link’ multi-modal routing and logistics software to “coordinate traditional delivery vans with pedestrian couriers, identifying safe locations for drivers to park within walking distance of multiple delivery addresses,” couriers can harness a simple smartphone app to identify the most economical routes and itinerary to deliver parcels. The app also integrates with Hermes’ tracking systems for real-time delivery statuses for customers.
“The overall system orchestrates the end-to-end journey for each parcel, ensuring that deliveries – whether on the first mile from the depot by road, or the last mile to the doorstep on foot – are as efficient and as sustainable as they can be,” stated Ford.
Launched in September 2020, the solution was put to the test during the Christmas peak. “Operating alongside a team of eight pedestrian couriers and located across three postcode areas, two Ford Transit vans delivered the same number of parcels as six vans making conventional doorstep deliveries – and did so more quickly.”
Promoting cleaner air in cities
Ford reports that Last Mile Delivery is just one of the ways it is exploring how connected technologies can help promote cleaner air in cities.
“We are exploring new delivery initiatives that can reduce emissions for the final mile delivery as part of our commitment to sustainability, and to also be prepared for further incoming legislation in cities, such as ultra-low emission zones. In addition, this operating model is easy to scale up to meet the increasing demand for home delivery and opens up the courier work for a whole new workforce who no longer need to drive or own a vehicle,” added Carl Lyon, Chief Operating Officer, Hermes UK.
Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high
Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey.
The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.
- Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
- Women now account for 42% of the workforce
- Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
- Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
- 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women
It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership
But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership.
The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities.
Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers.
Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.”