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Costco, UPS team up with University of Washington on omnichannel project


The University of Washington is teaming up with Costco, UPS, Nordstrom and other stakeholders on a new project that aims to improve the way consumers receive their goods.

The SCTL Center Urban Freight Lab says it will beworking to improve the management of both public and private operations of urban goods delivery systems. Urban Freight Lab members plan to engage in strategic applied research projects at the SCTL Center, and help identify priority problems for future research.

Founding members of the SCTL Center Urban Freight Lab include:

  • Costco

  • Nordstrom

  • UPS

According to theSCTL Center Urban Freight Lab website,the dramatic increase of online retail sales and changing expectations in social networks are driving new forms of goods delivery. In the first quarter of 2016, U.S. online sales were almost 8 percent of total retail sales, an increase of 15 percent from the first quarter of 2015.

"Imagine a building concierge, who used to receive and hold a few flower bouquets behind his counter, trying to sort and store groceries for 700 residents every week in the lobby," a statement on the website says. "When 3 million people living and working in greater Seattle purchase 10, 25 or 50 percent of their goods online and have it delivered to their door, there is tremendous pressure on the city to rethink the way it can manage street infrastructure, and on building operators to plan for the influx of online goods."

The Urban Freight Lab says its research is analyzing processes, developing potential solutions, and piloting operational improvements in the final 50’ of the urban goods delivery system. The final 50’ of the urban delivery system begins at the city-owned curb, commercial vehicle load zone, or sidewalk; extends through privately-owned building freight bays; and may end in the common areas within a building such as the lobby.

Read more about the project by clicking here.

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