UPS trialing in-apartment deliveries with Latch smart access technology
UPS has begun a pilot with Latch smart access devices to enable in-building deliveries to multi-unit homes in New York City, which it says will provide “increased security and convenience for residents who are not at home to receive packages”.
In a release, UPS said Latch’s smart access devices enable UPS drivers to provide more reliable customer service and complete more deliveries on the first attempt. UPS began preliminary tests in Manhattan earlier this year and has now expanded to Brooklyn.
Eventually, UPS may offer the service in markets throughout the U.S. together with smartaccess pioneer Latch.
“The use of smart access devices on doors of apartment and condominium buildings is a big step forward for the package delivery business,” Jerome Roberts, UPS vice president of global product innovation.
“It can be difficult to securely deliver packages in high-density, multi-family urban residences, especially when people are not at home. Smart access devices give us a keyless way to deliver packages to buildings and leave packages safely in lobbies or building package rooms. For our customers, it gives them peace of mind that their package will be waiting for them when they get home.”
The system works like this: A UPS driver taking packages to a Latch-enabled building receives a unique credential on a handheld UPS DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device).
The credential works only for a specific building receiving deliveries. Any time a driver uses a credential to enter a building, Latch records the entry digitally to create an audit trail that identifies the user and the time of access, establishing a secure record of the transaction.
Latch’s smart access system lets residents and others use smartphones to unlock doors throughout a building, including at the main entrance. An embedded wide-angle camera within each device captures a visual record of every interaction by a non-resident that authorised users can monitor from the Latch mobile app.
UPS, however, is using Latch systems only to enter buildings, not individual apartments. Residents can use Latch to enter the building and to manage guest access. To manage deliveries, they use the UPS My Choice mobile app or website.
The potential market for smart access devices used in this way is enormous and growing. There are currently about 20 million multi-family residential units in the United States, with about 350,000 added each year via new construction, Latch says.
“We believe that smart access can fundamentally change the way people live in urban environments,” said Luke Schoenfelder, Latch CEO. “Enabling deliveries with UPS is one of the most significant parts of that evolution.”
Germany Adopts Revolutionary Supply Chain Human Rights Laws
While the title states that Germany’s newly adopted that targets human rights abuse across global supply chains is “revolutionary” ─ which it is ─, it certainly shouldn’t be. But nonetheless, today, on June 11th, 2021, the German Parliament has ushered in a long-awaited shift to mandatory company compliance rules. After months of negotiation, the German lawmakers finally pushed it over the finish line within the final days of the current legislative period. The bill will see German multinational corporations held legally responsible for any human rights or environmental abuses found across their global supply chains.
“The German government has taken a critical step to ensure that companies operate responsibly,” said Juliane Kippenberg, associate director, children's rights division, at Human Rights Watch. “Respect for human rights in global supply chains is not something that should be optional.”
This news comes at a time when global corporations are already being pushed towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance, with a massive drive to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions from their supply chain operations and a concerted effort to avoid suppliers and manufacturers that do not meet the standards that industry-leading companies are now expected to meet.
Who will the new law affect?
With Germany’s new legislation, organisations that fail to meet the rules and regulations could be forced to pay fines potentially equivalent to 2% of their annual global turnover. However, it isn’t applicable to all.
According to Reuters, under the act, companies above a certain size will be forced to establish set due diligence procedures that prevent the abuses; from 2023, only companies with more than 3,000 employees in Germany will be affected. From 2024, the rules will expand to companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Statistics from within the country suggest that the first stage of this regulation rollout will affect 900 companies, while the second stage will put 4,800 companies under the spotlight. The bill will also enable the government to temporarily exclude from public tenders companies that receive fines in excess of €175,000.
“Incalculable risks arise for companies,” said Joachim Lang, general manager at the Federation of German Industry. A word of warning from a respected leader, at a time when industry lobby groups and wholesale businesses fear that the new law increases bureaucracy and suggest that price rises may be inbound.
The Take of German Giants
After looking at the incoming legislation, Daimler AG, known more commonly as the automotive giant Mercedes-Benz, a company which, should there happen to be any ESG-compliance issues along its multinational supply chain, would pay a hefty fee, is welcoming of the push for change but hesitant about certain aspects of the bill.
“Daimler's position is: The respect for human rights is a central aspect of our sustainable business strategy. We, therefore, welcome the progress made on the Supply Chain Act. Although the regulations are very ambitious, the proposed legislation has a sound approach overall. It is based on internationally recognised human rights and on international agreements. And it gives companies more legal certainty in an area that has so far only been partially regulated.
Supply chains are not "chains" but rather exceedingly complex networks: Daimler alone has over 60,000 direct suppliers - and many more sub-suppliers. For this reason, we also consider the proposed risk-based gradual model to be sensible. The responsibility of the companies lies primarily in their own business area and with their direct suppliers. Companies must then take action in the deeper supply chain if there are concrete indications of human rights violations. Daimler AG already does that today.
Even though we support the proposed legislation in principle, we consider some aspects to be critical, e.g. the planned fines of up to 2% of the average annual turnover. Instead of threats of sanctions, we consider concrete measures, which companies must take in the event of deficits, to be more expedient. In addition, certain wordings are still vague and leave room for interpretation. Terms such as, e.g. "fair standard of living" should be phrased precisely in order to create legal certainty. Furthermore, documentation and reporting requirements should not lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and should be harmonised with existing rules. On the one hand, this does not help the people on the ground, and on the other hand, it puts a burden on the companies – and the implementation can pose substantial challenges for smaller companies in particular.”
This law is arguably one of the most important developments in the supply chain space so far this year. But it must be remembered that changes do not and will not happen at the push of a button and that democratic principles should be applied to the discussion prior to enshrining legislation into tablature. Environmental and human rights advocacy is a hike, not a brisk walk around the park ─ so, for German companies, it’s time to get their boots on the ground and start assessing their global, interconnected supply chain operations. And, hopefully, they’ll set a stellar example for the rest of us.