The POMS 2024 conference, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, served as a platform for groundbreaking research collaborations, one of which was presented by former LIFT Lab PhD visiting student Camilo Mora from Monterrey Tech Campus Monterrey. In collaboration with the MIT LIFT Lab, Camilo presented his research on Last-Mile Efficiency in Emerging Markets: Factors Influencing Dwell Time for Nanostore Deliveries.

Camilo’s research delved into crucial aspects surrounding last-mile distribution for nanostores in emerging markets. His investigation aims to provide data-driven evidence on the factors influencing dwell time in last-mile distribution to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the distribution of goods to the largest retail channel in the world.

To achieve this goal, Camilo deployed a large-scale data collection effort involving over 1100+ students from the partner universities of LIFT in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador. Students from Tecnologico de Monterrey, Universidad Tecmilenio, Universidad Panamericana, Universidad de la Sabana, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and Universidad del Pacifico collected over 4.5K observations on last-mile operations to serve nanostores in emerging urban areas.

Statistical analysis reveals that nanostores are served by a diverse fleet, with more than half being over ten years old. The investigation discovered that one-third of freight vehicles come from the informal sector. Informal vehicles are much older than formal commercial vehicles. This finding has important implications for policymaking, particularly in terms of decarbonizing urban logistics.  

Additionally, the study examines the relationship between parking location (legal or illegal) and idling. The results presented by Camilo revealed a significant association between location and idling, indicating that the parking location influences whether a vehicle idles or not. Moreover, many drivers opt to park illegally to save time, underscoring the preference for efficiency even at the expense of legality. Freight drivers were found to park in 22% of the cases illegally.

Furthermore, the investigation highlights the importance of addressing safety concerns in last-mile distribution, emphasizing the significance of providing adequate training on safe lifting techniques and equipping drivers with appropriate tools and equipment to mitigate the risk of injuries associated with manual handling. 

Overall, Camilo Mora’s research contributes invaluable insights to the field of last-mile distribution, offering practical implications for enhancing efficiency and sustainability in emerging markets. His work paves the way for informed decision-making and policy interventions to improve last-mile operations by addressing critical factors influencing dwell time and safety considerations.