THE EVOLUTION OF PRODUCT DELIVERY
Product delivery is known as the process of transporting goods from one location to a predefined destination. Packages have been being delivered since as early as the 1600’s and the process is continuously evolving today, in the 21st century. Product delivery has ranged from homing pigeons all the way to what we are now familiar with, which are trucks and drones. As technology continues to evolve, it will continue to transform.
Cargo, the physical goods, is typically delivered through railroads, shipping lanes, and airlines. The delivery of physical goods is commonly known as the distribution process, which goes hand-in-hand with the study of logistics. Postal and courier services deliver goods for commercial and private interests and play a significant role in the evolution of product delivery.
1600’S AND EARLIER
There were many firsts in the 1600’s for the mailing system. Three of the most important options for sending messages during this time included by foot, homing pigeons, and by ship.
- Delivered by foot: In the 1600’s the term “cursus publicus” came about. This was a relay system where a messenger would travel about half way until they reached a rest house.
- Homing pigeons: Pigeons carried messages for thousands of years, especially in times of war. It was believed that pigeons were reliable for delivering messages because they could always find their way home.
- By sea: Ships were also used to transport goods and cargo across seas. From as far back as the Phoenicians and Ancient Greeks, these vessels were used to cross individual goods in crates and barrels across the ocean.
Horses and railroads were key to successful mail and product delivery in the 1800s. These two methods introduced unique approaches to mail delivery that have impacted the system today.
- Horse drawn vans: In America, between 1860 and 1861, the Pony Express delivered mail and parcels on a relay network from East to West across North America.
- Steam powered railroads: The use of steam engines on railroads drastically changed the landscape of product delivery as large amounts of goods and raw materials could be delivered across vast distances. Trains could deliver these to places far away at a fraction of the cost of traveling by wagon.
In the 1900’s, which is popularly known as the 20th century, the creation of automobiles in America was separated between electric, steam, and gasoline-powered models. The post office tried out all three of these vehicle types for mailing purposes. They found that gasoline powered vehicles were able to cover the cities most efficiently and were gradually adopted by the mail transportation contractors.
- Gasoline-fueled cars: With the long journeys, mail carriers were having to replace their batteries every eight hours, and they weren’t always guaranteed to pass a location that had extra batteries.
- 1907 was a historical turning point. The first of the big four carriers was born when Jim Cassey asked to borrow $100 from a friend. This $100 started a messenger service in Seattle. It eventually became known as UPS, which is widely known today.
- Cargo airplanes: These planes were originally used for transporting military men and their supplies during the war. Eventually these planes began to be used for non-military shipping as well. UPS offered air services from the East coast to the West coast of America in 1953. UPS then was able to offer air service to every single state in America in 1977.
Now, in the 2000’s, The Postal Service has tested electric light-duty vehicles for city delivery, hoping to add to its fleet of cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles. They have also been testing two-wheeled Segway for mail delivery, the three-wheeled T3s, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), and the drone for more convenient courier delivery purposes.
- Courier Services: Courier services are one of the main ways that products are delivered today and computers gave companies the capability to evolve into full-service courier management firms. Web-enabled programs provided companies greater interaction between drivers and operation managers across all aspects of operations.
- The emergence of smartphones sparked a trend to develop courier applications for mobile devices. Courier management companies began to introduce driver support and productivity applications for a variety of purposes.
- Drones: These are being used to deliver products in a timely matter. Eventually shipping companies plan to have drones be able to deliver your packages directly to your door. Drone deliveries look like the future: unmanned quadcopters rapidly delivering packages to our doors, eliminating both wait times and the cost of human labor.
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS HELPING
Technology is greatly helping the world of product delivery. Companies will be able to save money on shipping costs, which will in turn reduce the costs for the consumers. Alongside, we will receive packages quicker and won’t even consider our packages getting lost in transit ever again. With this, courier management software solutions will play a significant role in product delivery.
- Courier dispatch management software automates the flow of valuable, customizable and time sensitive information.
- The management software ensures accuracy, accountability, and greater profits.
THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES
Over the centuries, we have seen the incredible evolution of product delivery. What was once as basic as delivering a note or package by foot, is now as complex as delivering a pizza by drone. With the help of new software and technology, product delivery will continue to transform at lightspeed and it will become more convenient than ever before. Although we are unsure what the future will hold for product delivery due to ever-changing technologies, we know it will be quicker and easier than ever before.