Ann Snitko, chief operating officer, Omnic, USA, tells us about her company’s innovations, and where she sees the parcel locker sector in the next five years.
Can you tell us about your latest product development, including information on its key features, where it is used/installed, and how it benefits the end user?
At the moment, Omnic makes urban solutions redesigning the self-service last-mile experience.
For example, Brandshub is our multifunctional, all-in-one self-service point with a unique design. It combines the functions of the post office and vending, providing the end customer with the opportunity to use its services, which could include laundry, food delivery, mail, shoe repair, etc.
Our Smart Postal Office is a multifunctional self-service point. It consists of a classic post office with an employee – to give clients a chance to get used to the new automation service and to teach people how to use it – and an automated point for receiving small loads, with vending machines for the demonstration and sale of goods, and a point of payment for various services. We have already installed 500 units in Eastern Europe.
Now we are developing a product in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, called Omni Car, which will breathe new life into logistics vehicles. Omni Car is a post office on wheels, which is very economic and convenient for customers.
Cube Burger is an automated point that stores orders from cafés and restaurants. The temperature in the lockers is maintained up to 140°F (60°C) to keep food at the right temperature. Users get many benefits with Cube Burger, such as the opportunity to launch a fully automated restaurant, get a competitive advantage over rivals, set trends in the market, and save on staff and restaurant space.
Tell me about any recent installations you have made? Who was it for and what did it entail? What was unique about the installation?
Omnic creates innovative solutions for different partners from the retail and logistics industries, such as Carrefour, Meest Group, Nova Poshta, DPD, Hugo Boss and Philips. In the past two years we’ve produced more than 5,000 units. We have developed a unique solution for orders that allows three temperature conditions: maintaining room temperature, cooling and freezing. Some projects we are working on are under NDAs, but we can tell you that this year Omnic received a Guinness World Record title for the biggest electronic parcel locker in a single venue. The parcel locker counted 1,182 automated cells. It was a social initiative in which over 1,400 children received Christmas gifts from automated cells.
What is unique about the Omnic product/offering?
We strive to create unique and innovative products which are not widely present on the market. In addition, Omnic uses several business models, which makes our offering unique. The first is called Build to Suit: as part of this business model, we customize or create a product for a client, or launch a new business unit.
The Open Chain model is for average business players who want to automate the last mile. This business model is suitable for the hotel/restaurant/café sector, laundry service providers, retailers, and logistics operators who want to be closer to their customers. They can buy several units to better manage customer flows, thereby becoming closer to their clients. We presented this model this year at the CES Show in Las Vegas.
With the Leasing model, we deliver a device for our client with an annual or two-year lease. So far, our clients are profitable from the first installed station.
How do you see lockers evolving over the next 5 to 10 years? What new technologies do you see being introduced?
Food delivery is a new trend, which is growing fast. With fast-paced lives, Generation Y prefers food delivery to cooking at home or visiting restaurants. By 2020, those 21- to 36-year-olds will make up 70% of at-home delivery services. Between 2018 and 2023, restaurant delivery is projected to grow at more than three times the rate of on-premises sales, with the majority going to digital orders. With bigger spending power, millennials have higher requirements: effortless ordering, instant delivery, one-step checkout, gamification, and more. Parcel lockers with temperature modes will enjoy big popularity due to facilitation of the delivery process and the opportunity to make food delivery more comfortable both for the client and the business.
In addition, the end clients of the 21st century want to get everything done at once. Therefore, multifunctional parcel lockers will be a convenient solution. People will get different services at the one place – leave your laundry, order food, or get your parcel from Amazon at one place.
Do you believe self-service solutions are the future of last-mile delivery?
Self-service is a growing trend. There are multiple reasons for that. According to recent Accenture research, customer expectations are based on three main issues: The first is delivery control. Consumers are demanding a better last-mile service that keeps them in control of how, when and where their parcels are delivered. Second is the location of delivery: As choices broaden, consumers want new delivery options, such as lockers or pick-up locations that enable secure, 24/7 delivery, and sometimes an anonymous delivery option. Third is delivery timing. While there is great investment in speed, CEP companies should focus on giving consumers a range of delivery times – at different price points – that provides flexibility.
I believe that self-service solutions solve all these issues and will become more convenient and commonplace over the next five years.
Ann Snitko will give a presentation at this year’s Parcel+Post Expo conference entitled: Blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrencies: the future of last-mile delivery solutions. Ann has been VP of technologies at Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) since March 2018, and a visiting research scholar at Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology since January 2018. She co-founded and has been business development executive at Smart Lockers Network since March 2014. She is also chief operating officer at Omnic Consulting Group.
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