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Last Mile Delivery Robotics: A Boon for the Canadian Industries and Innovation

The rapid advancement of last mile delivery robotics and their dependability over the years has brought forth a wave of innovations that has potential to transform key industries. A common challenge faced by all Canadian industries is shortage of labour. In fact, 58% of all Canadian businesses are experiencing labour shortages (Source: BDC Survey, 2022). In Canada, environmental concerns, the lack of trained skilled labor in the restaurant or the food and beverage industry in general, the dearth of skilled labor like nurses in the healthcare sector driven by the aging workforce are all contributors to an innovation led economy to address these challenges. The acute labour shortage is particularly felt in physically demanding sectors such as logistics, manufacturing, and food service. This article explores how robot food delivery like BUBS can revolutionize these sectors and bring about positive changes.



The Canadian restaurant industry is known for its vibrant culinary scene and diverse range of establishments with over 97,000 restaurants and bars employing over 1.2 million people (Statcan, 2023). However, it faces several challenges, including rising labor costs and the need to improve delivery services. By utilizing BUBS for food delivery, restaurants can streamline their operations and reduce reliance on human resources. Robots can navigate through busy sidewalks in a safe manner, transporting take out orders from the restaurants or cloud kitchens directly to customers' doorsteps. This not only increases delivery speed and efficiency but with geo-location also ensures accurate and reliable order fulfillment. Robot food delivery can be particularly helpful to innovative retail chains such as Loblaws, London Drugs and fast-food outlets like Wendy's. Retail grocery chains can benefit by being able to offer 30 minutes or less delivery options to customers. This is especially helpful for perishable foods and vegetables which often sees spoilage due to fluctuating volumes of sales. Additionally, robots equipped with advanced sensors can ensure food safety during transit, maintaining the quality of the meals and enhancing customer satisfaction.


Canada, like many other developed nations, is experiencing an aging population, resulting in a shrinking workforce with almost one in five Canadians (i.e., 18.8% of the total population or ~7.3 million people) were at least 65 years of age (Statcan, 2023). This retirement wave creates a significant gap in the labour market that the existing workforce needs to backfill. Gen-X workers are moving up to replace the outgoing workforce and Gen Z workers fill in those roles left by Gen X. ‘Gen Z workers were more “likely to change jobs more often than any other previous generation” (Business Insider, 2022)’. “A recent Bloomberg poll found that millennials, followed by Zoomers, are the most likely to leave their current position for a higher salary”. Given this trend BUBS can help fill in the gap created by the lack of skilled labor and automate mundane repetitive delivery tasks which most people dislike doing.


Another key area where delivery robots can make a significant impact is in reducing the environmental impact in last-mile deliveries in the supply chain. “The World Economic Forum forecasts a carbon emission increase of 30% in the next 10 years and the demand for last-mile delivery to grow by 78% (World Economic Forum, 2023)”.


“The global transportation sector’s total emissions in 2021 was 6,340 million Metric Tons of CO₂ equivalent (Environmental Protection Agency., n.d.)”. “Last-mile delivery contributed to about 5% of overall supply chain emissions of the global transportation sector (TechTarget, 2021)”. BUBS operates on the sidewalks and on batteries. It’s efficient and environmentally friendly. The disruptive innovation is well suited for small businesses who want to scale their operations around the clock in a cost-efficient manner with minimal environmental impact.

Robots have a potential wide-ranging effect on many industries; one in particular is the hospitality and recreation markets. There are approximately 2400 golf courses in Canada and robot food delivery can add significantly to the convenience of golfers (Tee Precision, 2022). On a typical hot day at the course the delivery of beverages alone can be a significant contributor to revenues for the golf club and a convenience to players. During the peak seasons additional low-skilled golf course staff can also be a challenge and often the workforce is seasonal (ForeUP Golf, n.d.). BUBS can help ...deliver food and beverages, including beer from major brands like Molsons or Labatts, or snacks from industry leaders Coke and Pepsi to the players and their caddies on the course in a quick, convenient, consistent, and inexpensive way. BUBS is equipped with refrigeration capabilities, and it can store and transport beverages and snacks and maintain them at the right temperature and travel across the undulating slopes of a course or even around water hazards or challenging terrains with ease.


At another extreme end the use of delivery robots extends to elder care facilities or even in hospitals. BUBS can be customized and be equipped with refrigeration capabilities and can transport temperature-sensitive medications and vaccines, maintaining their integrity throughout the delivery process. Additionally, they can navigate with caution both inside and outside the elder care living facilities or hospital building across the campus and even to parts which may be difficult to access. This frees up the valuable time of hospital staff especially nurses who could then redirect their attention to patient care and elderly care. Companies like Aramark have been at the forefront of adopting innovative solutions for their clients. Everything from implementing EVS programs, to sensor-based Intelligent Workplace Experience monitoring and other technologies to help employees and customers. Their resident dining or even housekeeping and laundry services could benefit greatly with BUBS as part of daily operations.


By adopting autonomous delivery systems, Canadian businesses can showcase their commitment to embracing emerging technologies. This encourages the development of a robust ecosystem that fosters innovation, attracts investment globally, and drives research and development in the field of robotics. The implementation of last mile delivery robotics can serve as a catalyst for creating high-skilled jobs and nurturing a thriving innovation-driven Canadian economy. BUBS holds tremendous potential to transform various sectors in Canada.


References:

Andrews, G. (2022, July 27). How to manage your seasonal golf course staff. foreUP. https://www.foreupgolf.com/blog/how-to-manage-your-seasonal-golf-course-staff/

Aramark. (n.d.). Healthcare Resources. Aramark. https://www.aramark.com/industries/healthcare/healthcare-plus/healthcare-resources

Bhaimiya, S. (n.d.). Gen Z workers change jobs more often than any other generation because they’re prioritizing happiness, high expectations, and raises. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/gen-z-spends-less-time-in-jobs-than-earlier-generations-2021-11

Canada’s Population Estimates: Age and Sex, July 1, 2022. (n.d.). https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220928/dq220928c-eng.pdf

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). EPA. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions#:~:text=Transportation%20Sector%20Emissions&text=Sector%20in%202021-,Total%20Emissions%20in%202021%20%3D%206%2C340%20Million%20Metric%20Tons%20of%20CO%E2%82%82,of%20these%20greenhouse%20gas%20emissions.

Lawton, G. (2021, July 13). The environmental challenges of last-Mile Delivery: TechTarget. ERP. https://www.techtarget.com/searcherp/feature/The-environmental-challenges-of-last-mile-delivery

Northside hospital system boosts patient satisfaction and bed ... - Aramark. (n.d.-c). https://www.aramark.com/content/dam/aramark/en/industries/healthcare/healthcare-plus/healthcare-resources/insights-content/healthcareInsights_caseStudy_northsideHospitalBoostsPatientSatisfaction.pdf

Northside hospital system boosts patient satisfaction and bed ... - Aramark. (n.d.-c). https://www.aramark.com/content/dam/aramark/en/industries/healthcare/healthcare-plus/healthcare-resources/insights-content/healthcareInsights_caseStudy_northsideHospitalBoostsPatientSatisfaction.pdf

Travis, & TravisA former college golfer who played professionally for a short time. (2022, October 16). The number of golf courses in Canada (by province, City, and per-capita). Tee Precision. https://teeprecision.com/number-of-golf-courses-in-canada/

The future of the last-mile ecosystem - world economic forum. (n.d.). https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_the_last_mile_ecosystem.pdf

Virgin, K., Kemp, A., & Evans, K. (2021, March 25). This infographic highlights a selection of statistics on restaurants, bars and caterers in Canada. Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2021025-eng.htm

Integrated Facilities Management in healthcare completing ... - Aramark. (n.d.-b). https://www.aramark.com/content/dam/aramark/en/industries/healthcare/healthcare-plus/healthcare-resources/insights-content/healthcareInsights_guide_completingYourOutsourcingJourney.pdf


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