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Affinity Workshop: WiML Workshop 1

Solving the super rural and super dense delivery with asset-light programs

Jin Ye · Abhilasha Katariya


Speedy fulfillment and distribution isn't just a "nice to have" — it's the expectation of every online shopping experience. Companies like Amazon strives to optimize their expansion strategies to satisfy customers with the fastest delivery yet under a reasonable cost. In addition to being a key to customer satisfaction, last mile delivery is both the most expensive and most challenging part of the shipping process. As a share of the total cost of shipping, last mile delivery costs are substantial — comprising about 53% of the overall fulfillment costs. As such, it's become the first place we're looking to implement new technologies and drive process improvements, especially for the most challenging geographies. The low density and wide geographical spread of rural customers makes it financially infeasible to invest in centralized facilities. The high real estate cost within the urban area and a capped labor and resource pool also constrains the service scaling. Last mile network will need to evolve to include lower cost nodes that enable cost-effective delivery in these extreme geographies. We develop innovative approaches that leverage upon methods based on risk pooling as well as resource sharing to effectively use resources.

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