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Trunk Space™

Trunk Space™ is a shipping service that would allow a customer to have items shipped faster and cheaper than traditional shipping services. Trunk Space™ would accomplish this by routing shipments between the spare trunk space in private vehicles on their usual routes.

Unique Benefits: Traditional shipping services rely on maintaining some physical real estate for sorting and loading, a dedicated fleet of specialized vehicles, and specialized professional drivers and/or delivery personnel. We would be replacing that infrastructure with software that would automatically distribute the shipping services to ordinary drivers of private vehicles on their usual routes.

Observations:
  • With the Rise of eCommerce, Efficient Shipping is a Significant Problem
  • The Transportation System Includes Reliable Predictable Routing of Ordinary Vehicles To At Least The Vast Majority of Endpoints With Spare Usable Space
  • The Technology is There

The Vision: Turn your perspective on transportation inside out. A car is not the machine which travels on isolated road from point A to B during certain periods of time. The system is not a collection of isolated cars on their unrelated routes. The machine is the whole system. The system efficiently routes people and cargo from point A to B using vehicles on roadways. Traditionally, a cargo item and the vehicle containing it are managed by the same person and shipped on a nonstop route. However, shifting the perspective reveals new opportunities.
  • An individual vehicle on the roadway is not the machine
  • The entire transportation system is the machine
  • Individual vehicles are merely parts of the machine of the transportation system.

The Showstopper: The showstopper (primary critical assumption) is that such a replacement would end up increasing the efficiency of shipping service, and increasing the efficiency enough that Trunk Space™ could successfully displace traditional services for a significant number of customers. Hard questions to ask ourselves include:
  • Would spare space in private vehicles really be more efficient than a dedicated fleet of specialized vehicles?
  • Would ordinary drivers really be more efficient than specialized professional personnel?
    • Would we be able to adequately resolve issues with driver security and reliability?
  • How much business would a new kind of shipping service need to remain in viable competition with traditional services?
    • Would the assumed efficiently lift be enough to provide us this much business?

Easy Assumption: That the Technology is There - We are assuming the availability of infrastructure in hardware, software, Internet, and mobile devices, as to support:
  • a complex system involving tracking of routes of drivers between location points over a broad geographical area
  • rapid responsiveness
  • many simultaneous users
  • most importantly, fast cheap complex logical computation
We feel it is an easy assumption that we can maintain this technology infrastructure much more efficiently than the traditional infrastructure required by shipping services. We are also assuming growing adoption by the general public of such advanced technological solutions. We are pretty confident about this assumption--that the technology is there.

Opportunities: Here are other possible issues, and some ideas for possible solutions.
  1. Security and Reliability of Ordinary Drivers:
    1. Feedback: Incorporating an effective feedback system for ratings of drivers
    2. Secure Containers: Some way of seal items in containers using something like strongboxes or at least light weight tamper-evident tape. (Note this idea is related to using containers to monetize the service.)
  2. Endpoint Pickup and Delivery:
    1. Use drones
    2. Reimburse or otherwise provide an incentive for drivers going a little bit out of their way
  3. Sufficient Critical Mass of Adoption
  4. Lack of Direct Routes: There probably doesn't often happen to be a usual route of a driver in the system going all the way door-to-door for a required shipping route.
    1. Transfer points: The system could have one driver stop and hand-off the item to another driver at certain points. This would require areas that would be safe and efficient for people to stop and make such transfers. This would require some precision in timing and reliability, or we would run into issues with missed connections, long delays and no-shows.
    2. Incentives: Again, reimbursement or incentive for going a little bit out of the way
  5. Monetizing: How exactly would this business receive money in exchange for providing this service? However we receive the money, we need to keep in mind that the financial viability needs to exceed that of preexisting traditional services by a significant extent.
    1. Containers: We could require the use of specialized containers which we would provide. We could charge for the containers or place advertising on them. It may also increase shipping efficiency to replace traditional disposable parcel boxes with reusable containers.
    2. Coop: We could try to provide this service to members only and also expect members to maintain some level of participation
    3. Transfer Points: We could try to resolve the issues of monetizing and providing transfer points at the same time. Perhaps businesses like convenience stores would be willing to bid to become preferred transfer points--because we would then refer drivers to stop there, and drivers stopping there would then be more likely to patronize the business
    4. Franchising: We could let the customers pay and the drivers bid, providing an incentive to the more desirable drivers (note incorporating the idea for driver feedback ratings here too). We could earn money by taking a portion of the drivers' income in exchange for us providing the service.

Secondary Ideas: (Resulting from opportunities)
  • Driver Ratings
  • Hand-off Points
  • Special Containers
    • Security
    • Efficiency
    • Monetizing

Please comment and add more.

Verified Author: Serafino Software™
Maturity Idea 
Type: Software Product, Shipping Service
Date Claimed: 4 August 2017

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