How The World of Packages is Getting More Complex

by: Shad Bookout

Grandparents love to tell stories that often begin with, Back in my day….”. And while it is true that we live in a world that is evolving faster than ever before, there are some things that just seem to change faster than others. As an example, the iPhone is only 10 years old. Online steaming video only started around 2005. AI (artificial intelligence) personal assistants such as Amazons’ Alexa are the newest craze (except for those fidget spinner things). So the rise of certain trends that change society are common, but not necessarily noticed until looking in hindsight.

Take the things you buy as an example. It used to be that people would wait with baited breath for the arrival of the spring and Christmas catalogs. I am old enough to remember going with my mom to pick up the latest creative thing she ordered from Service Merchandise. But now, nearly anything — and I do mean anything — is available to be ordered and shipped directly to your home with the touch of a single button on a smart phone.

As a result, more boxes, packages, parcels, and bundles are flowing out in the world than ever before. Amazon and online shopping has changed the way we look at the acquisition of stuff. A single Amazon fulfillment center can handle more than 10,000 orders per day (much more during the peak shopping season). With 26 new fulfillment centers coming to the U.S. in 2017, plus the continued rise of other shopping sites, we can expect to see package shipping volumes double by the end of 2018.

Plus, Amazon is now getting into the grocery business as well as the furniture business. You can order a dining table with chairs, the flatware, and the food to fill the table, and it can arrive to your apartment in time for you to cook dinner for your visiting family this weekend.

Package receiving centers are being stretched to their capability. Packages were once just a small part of the things arriving in the mail. But today’s business complexes and apartment communities are struggling to keep up with the scale of arriving packages. Residents and employees keep ordering, and the packages keep arriving. However, electronic package lockers and digital package management tools are immensely helping ease the burden.

The future hold faster delivery times and even the possibility of drones handling the logistics of the last mile. More automation and more availability lead to more orders and more shipping. Even things coming across the ocean will arrive faster than ever before. The world of packages is getting more complex. But it is so much cooler than it was “back in my day”.