The Last Mile as a Focus for InnovationOnce more it was a pleasure to be invited to ISG International Business School in Paris to lead a 3-day MBA innovation workshop based around the challenges presented by the ‘Last Mile’ of e-commerce and omnichannel supply chains.
With the e-commerce giants currently setting the standard for service and logistics towards internet customers, it was an exciting to review the challenges and opportunities for traditional retail companies trying to create omnichannel supply chains by integrating their existing supply networks with e-commerce channels.
Starting from their personal experience as e-commerce and retail customers, the students were encouraged to work back through each link of the supply chain, considering the objectives, challenges and opportunities at each operational step.
The first day closed with a team exercise to present their understanding gained of the challenges and improvements that could support a shift from retail to omnichannel.
The focus of the workshop then shifted to a current hotbed of innovation, the Last Mile, i.e. the final step in the logistic delivery of e-commerce/retail goods to the end-customer. This service accounts for more than 50% of the supply chain cost and can have a defining impact on the customer experience.
Following an interactive assessment of last mile challenges across many business sectors and existing market offerings (from traditional to innovative to ‘future crazy’), the students received a competitive sub group assignment. They were to define their own startup company to innovatively meet the service challenges of a chosen last mile market place. To complete the assignment, they would be required to host a press launch for their new company, detailing their services, business plan, supported by a publicity video.
I am pleased to say that each group met the challenge with creativity, determination, teamwork, structure, inspiration and fun.
The results were truly impressive, and I consider it a real privilege to witness such creativity. It was an inspiring learning experience all round.