Micro Hubs

What are Micro Hubs?

In retail, there is an ever-increasing shift from stationary to online retail. This does not only confront retailers with challenges, also the volume of parcels for courier services is constantly increasing. This leads to more crowded roads, especially in cities, as delivery traffic increases. The results are traffic jams, cars parked in the back row and, in the worst case, a traffic collapse. One solution for this are micro hubs.

Micro hubs, or micro depots, can be defined as small versions of logistics centers in the middle of the city and parcel handling points where online orders can be picked up and accepted. All you need for a micro depot is a branch that has enough storage space for receiving and delivering parcels, as well as enough space for interim storage. In contrast to the usual solution of couriers, who often commute back and forth between large logistics centres outside the city and the city centre several times a day, in micro hubs the parcels are delivered by service providers, temporarily stored and then picked up by couriers using environmentally friendly means of transport (cargo bikes or electric vehicles). With these vehicles, the distribution takes place on the last mile. In conurbations, this delivery can also be done on foot and by sack carts.

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Advantages of micro hubs

The concept of the micro hubs not only relaxes the traffic situation in the inner city, but also makes it greener and more sustainable by reducing emissions. In addition, delivery via bicycle couriers or e-scooters saves time and reduces costs for vehicles and fuel. In addition, the concept of the micro hubs also shortens the delivery time, as couriers can deliver parcels faster and thus more parcels per day. Storage utilization and storage times can also be optimized by micro depots. There is also the potential for logistics companies or retailers to share hubs, pool resources and share costs. In addition, the use of special software and logistics robots makes it possible to increasingly automate the small warehouses and design the processes more efficiently.

Micro hubs as a support of ship-from-store concepts

Micro hubs are an important component of ship-from-store concepts in particular. Here, the branch takes on the role of a mini-shipping warehouse: the order is compiled in the branch and then shipped directly to the customer. This benefits, among other things, from fast shipping times and a wider choice.

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