The last mile is the final leg of a logistics delivery and the physical point of contact with the buying customer.
We met with the last-mile service planning team as they strive to lead the rapidly growing last-mile market.
The team plans to continue creating new services by building a total solution for automated delivery services.
“They have a plan.”
The last-mile market has experienced rapid growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The e-commerce market and the food delivery market, as frontline industries, have enjoyed special benefits from COVID-19, and thanks to Coupang and MarketCulry,
Delivery services have gained recognition as a significant competitive advantage for e-commerce platforms. Hyundai Glovis, which has accumulated global expertise in logistics transportation, cannot miss this opportunity. The Last Mile Service Planning Team is discovering the future business of Hyundai Glovis by innovating the last mile, the final leg of the logistics industry’s value chain. Until last year, the team conducted a pilot project for robotic coffee delivery in-house, and is now preparing for automated in-building delivery services, including robotic parcel delivery.
According to Kim Ki-hyun, head of the last-mile service planning team, Hyundai Glovis’ competitive advantage in the last-mile market is its global top-tier brand and long-standing expertise. In addition, the combination of logistics and robotics is a natural progression in the era of digital transformation. The last mile is the most expensive stage in the entire logistics process, and improving the efficiency of the last mile is an essential task to reduce logistics costs and ensure consumer loyalty. In particular, the last mile is the first stage where the consumer’s user experience is shaped. Most of the leading companies in the industry are currently doing business with this experience in mind. According to Kim, robotic delivery will directly contribute to improving the efficiency of the last mile, enhancing the user experience, and increasing the brand value of Hyundai Glovis.
Currently, the automated delivery service is internalizing the capabilities necessary for the business by completing the first prototype. Starting from the second half of the year, it will build a solution with a level of completeness comparable to the mass production version. The solution consists of four components: an automated delivery box, a delivery robot, a service platform, and a mobile app. Kim Ki-hyun emphasizes the importance of differentiating the automated delivery service developed by the last-mile service planning team.
“There are a lot of robotics companies trying to revolutionize delivery by simply building a robot, but the industry consensus is that a robot alone is not a service unless it is connecting to the existing living space. Our team’s automated delivery solution tackles this issue and establishes the groundwork for an integrated solution, and our goal is to evolve into more services that change the way people live in buildings. Starting with office buildings, we plan to expand to hotels and resorts, government offices and universities, and residential buildings.”
A One-Team Approach to Detail and Boldness
One of the most important things when launching a new business is to verify its feasibility and potential. Currently, the company has completed a preliminary PoC(Proof of Concept) inspection with 16 related departments. The relevant departments have provided valuable feedback and support, contributing to the successful development and eventual commercialization of the project. As a result of pre-sales to various types of buildings, the company has seen a remarkable response from office buildings. So what is Kim’s “big picture” for the last mile market?
“In the grand scheme of the industry, the last mile is where people reside. Our buildings are also part of the last mile, and our team intends to inherit the business capabilities of Glovis, which has led the logistics industry, and create more new services in the last mile, not just automated delivery. We will continue to identify new services, as well as digital transformation by adding technology to existing services.”
Currently, the Last Mile Service Planning Team is divided into Planning, Tech, and PMO W/Gs, with a total of 9 members. Team leader Kim Ki-hyun is most grateful for his teammates. The speed and direction of his thoughts are very fast, and they keep up with him. He adds that they should support each other and do well as a team until we prove to the market that the direction we have agreed upon is right. Team Leader Kim Ki-hyun also asks employees to show their interest and support for the new business that the Last Mile Service Planning team is pursuing.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve introduced myself as ‘the robot coffee delivery team,’ and we’ve gotten great feedback on the service, which has been very encouraging. Our team goal is to bring robots and automated systems to market at an affordable price, so we’re trying to spend less, work more efficiently, and be detailed and bold. From a traditional perspective of commercialization, there may be some aspects that may not seem logical, but we hope you’ll look at them with a fresh perspective. Also, please give us lots of feedback and introduce us to your friends. Please support us.^^”
Q. Please tell us about yourselves.
Hello, I am currently performing project management duties in the PMO W/G to coordinate reviews and issues to ensure that each project is progressing according to its goals and plans. I am in charge of communicating with external collaborators and practitioners, and internally, I am in constant communication with the Planning W/G and Tech W/G to ensure that projects are moving forward without any issues.
I am responsible for new business planning at the Planning W/G.
Hello~ As a technical engineer, I am responsible for planning, purchasing, and developing technical elements necessary for business development.
Q. Tell us about your current work
PMO W/G are working together to provide a service package that includes delivery and system operation with internal and external customers. We are currently in the early stages of discussions regarding PBV.
In the case of Metabolism/GRaaSS, the in-house PoC conducted last year prepared the platform’s service functions, control functions for technical assets such as robots and facilities, and user convenience functions, based on which we plan to upgrade to a standard platform for actual B2C business development. Since automated base facilities and delivery robots have not yet been verified, we plan to prioritize technology verification. As there are still a few companies in Korea that plan to do business in the form of a packaged solution, we are striving to create quality-assured products and service them at a faster pace.
I believe that forward thinking is the most important aspect of my work. There may be niches or new business opportunities within existing businesses, but I think you can find more diverse and creative opportunities by thinking in terms of the unexplored future. Therefore, I am currently drawing a picture of entering several metropolitan buildings after finishing the PoC we are well prepared.
“Based on the successful progress and experience of the team’s projects, we will do our best to position ourselves as an integrated solution provider partner that aims to provide the service packages that customers need for various types of buildings that will be completed in the future.”
– Senior manager Ahn Sung-kyu
Q. Please elaborate on the total solution linking unmanned base facilities, GRaaSS, and robotic delivery that you are focusing on.
We devised a plan to address the labor-intensive inefficiencies in the last mile and subsequently developed GRaaSS, an automated base facility, to explore new business opportunities using robots.
When developing a new business, it’s important to understand the consumer’s needs. In the case of the office buildings we are targeting, there are inconveniences of existing courier services (mail rooms, automated delivery boxes), but there are also pain points such as lack of alternatives, security/loss issues due to outsiders entering the building and building operators’ concerns about differentiation factors to secure tenants. Recognizing the need for service transformation in the market, we decided to offer an integrated solution that combines our IP, LOVI, digital platform, GRaaSS, and delivery robots for in-building logistics innovation. In addition, we want to build the brand of GLOVIS, which provides customized service packages according to customer needs.
It would be easier to understand the core technologies of automated base facilities, GRaaSS, and robotic parcel delivery in the context of the automated delivery solution. First, automated base facilities are a miniaturized version of AS-RS, and the core technology elements are the ability to load parcels into the facility using various sensing technologies and user convenience functions, and to hand over parcels to humans and robots. GRaaSS uses technologies such as service and operation functions required for an integrated service platform, control functions for each technology element, and standard APIs for system integration. Finally, the delivery robot is a core technology that includes lidar-based SLAM, autonomous driving algorithms using SLAM, and mechanical mechanisms for safely loading and unloading parcels.
“I would like to learn more about the automation facilities, AMR, and system integration structures which are currently under development, and I will continue to work hard so that the new business we are promoting can become a pillar responsible for the future of Hyundai Glovis. Go Hyundai Glovis Last Mile Service Planning Team!”
– Manager Shin Jin-soo
Q. There will be times when you will encounter difficulties in pursuing new businesses. How do you overcome them?
Since the field we are developing and promoting is a new business based on advanced technology, there is no standardization of technology both domestically and internationally. To thrive as a B2C business, it is crucial to maintain a high level of quality in the products we develop, and there are no references, standards, or legal norms that we can refer to when sourcing and developing products and ensuring quality. First of all, the team thinks about a lot of exception handling cases on its own and tries to figure out how to respond to them together with the organization, but it is always one of the difficult parts.
Due to the differences in our respective roles and positions, we often have different opinions among W/Gs. Our team members always discuss and try to come to a consensus based on the big picture, which is the direction we need to go to make the business work, and what is necessary and important to achieve our goals. As a result, discussions among team members are very active, and I believe that having repeated experiences is crucial for reaching a consensus.
Q. It seems like the organic collaboration between the groups is important. How does that get communicated?
We regularly hold weekly team meetings and work meetings to share the progress of each W/G’s work and to review and follow up on problems, needs, and solutions. Our team aims to communicate and work quickly, and all necessary discussions are answered immediately through team and face-to-face meetings.
Tech W/G communicates a lot with Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Autoever development staff, and we use various methods such as phone calls, Teamz meetings, and face-to-face meetings.
The team members get along well with each other, so we share information and communicate freely.
“We’ll be hard at work and try to be a team that delivers results as quickly as possible.”
– Manager Hwang Ji-woon
By the Editorial Department