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Consumer Logistics

Surfing the Digital Wave

Peter J. Rimmer and Booi Hon Kam

Digital technology has changed the way we work, socialize, shop, play and learn. This book offers a stimulating exploration of how digitization has begun transforming the prevailing global logistics system into a self-service and sharing economy, and ultimately provides a vision of the monumental changes likely to overflow into the business landscape.
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Chapter 4: Consumer logistics 1.0

Surfing the Digital Wave

Peter J. Rimmer and Booi Hon Kam

Extract

Logistics in the last mile of the supply chain has long had traces of self-service culture, exemplified by vending machines, supermarkets and sushi conveyor belts. Since businesses began to leverage the power of digital technologies to enlist the labour of consumers to serve themselves in airline self-check-in and parcel collection, this self-service practice has been amplified. This digital connectivity, derived from social media, has created 'consumer ubiquity', a phenomenon that allows businesses, typified by Uber, to enlist the assistance of consumers to serve other consumers. Exploring these crowdsourcing developments explain how logistics has evolved from the supplier–retailer-consumer chain, through the supplier–consumer chain with the onset of online shopping, to the supplier–consumer–consumer chain of Consumer Logistics. By offering an infinite number of options to materialize last-mile delivery Consumer Logistics has changed the operation of High Street stores, supermarkets and convenience stores and brought unprecedented agility, flexibility and cost-efficiency to supply-chain operations.

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