Press Release


ZF Study on the Future 2016: The Crucial Last Mile to the Customer Makes the Difference

  • Supply logistics under new conditions: How will the delivery process be organized in the future?
  • Scientists closely analyze many future trends – from same day delivery and convenience logistics to delivery robots and drones
  • Study partners present first results at IAA Commercial Vehicles

Friedrichshafen/ Dortmund. By which means and how fast are ordered goods delivered to the customer? Do noise and exhaust gas emissions increase to the same extent as transport volumes? How flexible must parcel shipping agencies be in the future – and which technological innovations do they use? The new ZF Study on the Future focuses on the last delivery mile to the customer and analyzes current trends in supply logistics. The study shows a forecast for the next ten years and answers questions that might be relevant for consumers in the future. The partners of the study are presenting their first results at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover during an experts' event on September 28, 2016.

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ZF Study on the Future 2016: The Crucial Last Mile to the Customer Makes the Difference

The Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) in Dortmund is drawing up the ZF Study on the Future, requested by ZF, and in cooperation with the ETM publishing house, Stuttgart. The study is titled "The last mile." The general problem is that transport volumes, particularly to end customers, are steadily increasing. At the same time, online trading and same day delivery are personalizing the transport business and increasing time pressure. The industry might be able to leverage new technologies like digitization and automation in the next ten years. However, logistics service providers also face increasing requirements when it comes to environmentally friendly transport and changes in demography and legislation: "When we talk about the future of logistics, we have to focus on the "last mile." This is where most innovations and new logistics concepts make a real difference," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Uwe Clausen, head of Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund and also in charge of ZF's Study on the Future 2016.

The study creates scenarios regarding the impact of key megatrends including autonomous driving, e-mobility and networking on supply logistics. The diversification of transport means will continue as a result of ever more diversified electric vehicles and increasingly ever stricter emissions regulations. The ZF Study on the Future includes an unbiased and critical analysis on the role of delivery robots and drones in this context. It also deals with the question of whether the supply chain will more likely rely on electric bicycles and "e-trikes." For the analysis, the IML researchers have not only drawn on their own institute’s but of the whole Fraunhofer research community.

First results of the study will be presented at the "Urban logistics of the future" congress on September 28, 2016, at IAA and online at .


Frank Discher

Technology and Product Communications

+49 7541-77 960770