What Is Crowdsourced Delivery?

Larry Bernstein

March 7, 2022

Larry Bernstein

Crowdsourcing has become a buzzword and the answer to many questions. Originally, crowdsourcing was used to bring large numbers of people together to handle a particular issue. The thought was because there are many people involved, there will be some who have the necessary skills/knowledge to address each element of the problem. Crowdsourcing has emerged as the answer to questions in multiple industries, including delivery.

So, what is crowdsourced delivery?

Crowdsourced Delivery is a fulfillment method that utilizes contractors as couriers who use their own vehicles to transport products. This model can be applied to many shipping needs such as the last mile, middle mile, or first mile. It offers companies an opportunity to cut costs and maximize supply chain efficiency.

How Does Crowdsourced Delivery Fit into My Business Model?

Based on the definition given above, many probably recognize crowdsourcing as something used in food delivery. Services, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats, have incorporated crowdsourced delivery, but the delivery system is flexible and can fit into any business model.

Crowdsourced delivery is being used in multiple industries including retail, grocery, construction, etc. The benefits of crowdsourced delivery are independent of industry and stage of shipping/delivery. Therefore, many expect the business model to be implemented in more industries.

Daily Routes

It’s easy to associate crowdsourced delivery with periodic delivery. After all, gig workers often have multiple jobs, and their availability is limited. However, crowdsourcing means having multiple people available (hence the word crowd). Therefore, businesses can use crowdsourced delivery for daily or scheduled routes. Although the specific driver may be different each day, crowdsourcing enables whoever has the time and desire to make the delivery. This is typically arranged through an app. Drivers are alerted of a need, and the first eligible person who responds to the need handles the route.

Hotshot Transportation

A hotshot delivery is the exact opposite of a regular route in that they are one-offs. This type of delivery typically requires a sense of urgency as the delivery is time-sensitive. Crowdsourcing is very useful for hotshot transportation. There’s no need to take the time to find an available employee. Instead, a message is sent via a crowdsourcing app, and an available driver with the appropriate vehicle is quickly identified to make the delivery.

The Middle Mile

Middle-mile delivery involves shipping items from a centralized location such as a warehouse to a store. It can be a regular route or a hotshot. The purpose is to keep the store well-stocked. By using crowdsourcing to make the middle mile delivery, companies can be confident that they can have in-demand products in-store as needed.

The Last Mile

Last-mile delivery is the final step in the shipping, and it is the costliest and most vexing for companies. Because it’s the step in shipping that the direct customer is most familiar with, it’s especially important to get it right. Another relevant element of last-mile shipping is that such shipments are typically time-sensitive and quantity varies. Crowdsourced delivery is well suited to handle the logistical challenges involved with the last mile. On the crowdsourced delivery app, specific requirements are listed so that the appropriate vehicle/person makes the delivery.

The First Mile

The first mile in shipping involves moving products from the location they are manufactured to a warehouse or distribution center. Like middle mile, this can be a regular route or a hotshot. Consider the recent challenges with production and the supply chain. Manufacturing may not be happening as consistently as it did in the past and/or it may be ramped up to meet excess demand. Either way, it can be helpful to turn to crowdsourced delivery. It can remove the potential headaches that arise with irregular shipping needs as drivers can be counted on to meet demand.

On-Demand Delivery for Your Customers

When companies offer on-demand delivery, customers expect to have options about when and where their products will be sent. They typically expect same-day delivery. To make this business model work requires companies to be flexible and efficient. Crowdsourced delivery enables companies to be flexible since they can secure drivers as needed.

Reduce Operations Staffing and Fleet Costs

A company that uses crowdsourced delivery will experience multiple benefits. One of the primary advantages is the reduction or elimination of their fleet. Because delivery drivers use their vehicles, companies do not need to retain a fleet. By eliminating the fleet, worries about maintaining vehicles, insuring them, etc. are gone. This allows the company to put more energy and focus on its primary business.

The company will no longer need to keep drivers on staff. Gig workers are not paid benefits and are only paid when they work. So, there’s no more concern about the number of drivers that need to be on staff. Downtimes, busy times – there’s always the correct number of drivers to service the shipping required on a particular day.

How Does Crowdsourcing Work in the Construction Industry?

In the construction industry, time is everything. Businesses win when they meet deadlines. For this reason, they need products delivered on site and on time. Same-day delivery is often essential, and crowdsourcing gets the job done.

Therefore, material suppliers need to be flexible and ready to deliver to maintain customer satisfaction. A material supplier whose business model includes crowdsourced delivery can be confident that they can satisfy their customers’ needs. Regardless of the time of day, type of supplies needed, or the frequency of the need, builders will have their materials on-site when a material supplier uses crowdsourcing for delivery.

Increase Your Shipping Fleet Efficiency with Curri

Curri does crowdsourced delivery for the construction industry. Our all-in-one logistics platform helps distributors move material fast, reliably, and professionally. Customers that use our services have saved over 30% on operational costs, such as fleet insurance and maintenance. Whether it’s supplementing a company’s fleet or replacing it altogether, Curri improves your fleet efficiency.

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