Last-mile logistics fulfilment: A framework for energy efficiency
Journal article, 2020
Purpose: Last-mile fulfilment is among the most energy consuming logistics operations in the supply chain because of the vast amount of stops and low fill rates. The study's purpose is to explore last-mile fulfilment options in regard to their energy efficiency and to develop guiding propositions for energy efficient last-mile fulfilment options. Design/methodology/approach: Interviews with Swedish retailers and their logistics service providers (LSPs) were conducted to compare different last-mile fulfilment options for consumer goods. Data of these options in respect to energy efficiency was analysed in regard to a framework with the components of distribution structure, transportation execution, and household logistics capability. Findings: This study analysed the energy efficiency of six distinct options in the last-mile fulfilment. Since transportation in the last mile is highly energy consuming, energy could be saved in last-mile fulfilment when goods are carried as far as possible collectively down in the supply chain to collection points close to the point of consumption (POC) in commercial vehicles with high fill rates. The end consumer should be responsible for only the last part of the last mile. Proximity between private households and collection points increases the possibility that the consumer will walk or use public transportation. Practical implications: This study provides insights to managers of logistics companies and retailers regarding how to save energy in last-mile logistics fulfilment. Originality/value: Viewing consumers as co-producers of logistics solutions and aligning the distribution structure, transportation execution, and household logistics capability suggest propositions for the improved energy efficiency of last-mile fulfilment options in the supply chain.