Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast on December 1 to talk about a new technology, called Prime Air. The idea behind it looks simple: Amazon would receive an order and then deploy drones to customer homes within as little as 30 minutes after the package was ordered. Prime Air is the next frontier in shipping technology, Bezos believes, and could dramatically change the way Amazon as well as United Parcel Service and FedEx operate. Bezos was bold enough to suggest that its drone delivery system could go into service as early as 2015. But even if it develops a practical drone delivery system, the Federal Aviation Administration and, no doubt, state and local officials, are going to want proof that the system can safely operate, especially in crowded urban areas. But if nothing else, Bezos’ drone delivery proposal got Amazon some extra attention during the holiday shopping season. Whether it’s a PR stunt or an opportunity for Amazon to change the world of shipping, the drone program is worth a closer look. Wonder if that drone attack last week in the Mid-East on a wedding party. Maybe it was Amazon delivering wedding gifts and the sender’s credit card was refused!
Imagine the bicycle delivery person in the picture pedaling through a “pedestrian zone”. His first stop is a small T-Shirt store. He brings their package inside and gets a signature on his hand-held device. Next, he delivers a smaller package to a teenager in a nearby apartment. Again he gets a signature. You have just seen the tail end of a World-wide “drop ship” scenario that is highly dependent upon COLLABORATION.
Let’s walk back up the supply chain and see what we find. Our first observation is that all the interfaces are electronic. It goes from BECYCLE, the company making the actual delivery; through DHL Logistics, to a virtual manufacturer, then on to his manufacturing partners, 3pl logistics providers and suppliers. Even the teenager ordered his shirt from the manufacturer’s on-line store and the T-Shirt store ordered from the same company’s B2B WebSite.