Last-Mile Delivery in e-Commerce

Design a system for sharing and invoicing parcel locker locations between several parcel operators

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Last-mile distribution poses a number of challenges in terms of operation and cost-efficiency. One solution is to distribute parcels in digital lockers conveniently placed on the road. To avoid the proliferation of these boxes, as seen in Europe, the solution is to share them between different delivery companies, using a variable allotment system, similar to the way airline seats are sold by different travel agencies. This improves box fill rates.

For: Parcel delivery companies, including the country's postal operator.


  • An interface for the recipient, enabling them to see that their parcels (delivered by several parcel operators) are available, with access codes for retrieving them.
  • An interface for the parcel operator, showing which boxes are available, wcih are being used, and the invoicing per use (fixed + variable costs)
  • An interface for the manager, enabling them to see the rate of use of the locker, the breakdown by operator, and the amount of monthly invoicing to be established.

Challenge owner: Dominique Colin

Version originale en français

Consignes colis digitalisées partagées

Concevoir un système de partage et de facturation des emplacements des consignes colis entre plusieurs opérateurs colis

La distribution du dernier km représente de nombreux défis à relever pour l'effectuer à coûts réduits. Une solution consiste à distribuer les colis dans des consignes digitales judicieusement placées sur la chaussée. Pour éviter la prolifération de ces boîtes, comme on l'observe en Europe, la solution est de les partager entre les différentes sociétés de livraison, grâce un système d'allotement variable, à l'image de la vente de sièges dans les avions vendues par différentes agences de voyage. Le taux de remplissage des boîtes s'en trouve amélioré.

Pour: Les sociétés de distribution de colis, dont l'opérateur postal du pays


  • Une interface pour le destinataire lui permettant de voir que ses colis (livrés par plusieurs opérateurs colis) sont disponibles avec codes d'accès pour le récupérer
  • Une interface pour l'opérateur colis lui indiquant les box disponibles, celles utilisées et sa facturation à l'utilisation (frais fixe + variable)
  • Une interface pour le gestionnaire lui permettant de connaître le taux d'utilisation de la consigne, la répartition par opérateur et le montant de la facturation mensuelle à établir

The Challenge of Last-Mile Delivery in e-Commerce

Contents of Slide presentation (PDF) by Dominique Colin - La Poste (France)

More and more customers are asking the delivery to their home for a convenient reason. In addition, cross-border eCommerce has to deal with import customs clearance issues.

But last-mile delivery generates various problems: heavy traffic in cities, leading to congestion and pollution, uncertainty as to whether the recipient will be present, necessitating redelivery or delivery on standby, payment of tax and duties for clearance, and therefore the high cost of home delivery.

Parcel lockers are a possible solution, but there are too many competing lockers on the market.

On the streets, in station lobbies and shopping malls, lockers are multiplying in the colors of each operator, from worldwide integrators to local independent carriers, as well as those of the stores and e-tailers themselves.

The solution for the government and the regulation authority is to organize this activity and optimize streets use around a single operator capable of managing all parcel lockers for carriers and online sellers. The shared locker solution for sustainable, optimized use of public space, and contributing to the postal operator's central position in e-commerce.

Stage #1: Design the Value Proposition

Required skills:

  • Problem identification and analysis
  • Market research
  • Value Proposition design
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Flexibility and adaptability

This is a marketing and business development challenge focused on digital solutions, that posts may use to discuss with the supervising ministry and regulation authority.

Define the ideal benefits and features of shared lockers for carriers and consignees.

Create a profitable business model (BUILD and RUN) for shared lockers, including fixed and variable costs and revenues for the various stakeholders.

Consider the volume of parcels delivered and returned using shared lockers.

Stage #2: Design the App to manage shared lockers

Design an application enabling carriers to obtain available spaces in shared lockers and use them for pickup and delivery*, as well as for payment of customs clearance tax and duties (use of ITMATT data).

Design an application enabling the postal operator to manage/supervise different lockers, optimize spaces and invoice carriers.

Design an application enabling buyers (recipients) to pay duties and taxes in lockers, to pick up and drop off their parcels in the lockers whatever the carrier is. (* Pickup issue can be studied later.)

Required skills:

  • Problem solving
  • Rapid prototyping (time management)
  • Programming capabilities (various languages)
  • Mobile and/or Web development
  • User interface (UI) and User experience (UX)
  • Debugging and troubleshooting
  • Teamwork and collaboration

This is a program design and implementation challenge. The software bricks could be the starting point for an operational solution to present and convince stakeholders in our countries.

Thank you. Please feel free to ask any questions. 😄

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Contributed 1 year ago by Dominique for Postal Data Hackathon 2023
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