Logistics is a multidisciplinary field with complex systems defined within it. One of the relevant fields it covers would be last mile delivery. It can be challenging to ensure that all customers have access to products, particularly in rural areas. To improve efficiency and reduce costs, companies need to think about how they use technology to better their supply chain.
The last mile delivery is a vital link in the supply chain and one that can have significant impacts on customer experience. This blog post will explore how you can improve your last-mile distribution process to enhance customer satisfaction.
In the past few years, we’ve seen a shift from traditional distribution channels to digital ones, with many companies investing in e-commerce platforms and web stores for their products. With this change comes an increased demand for more efficient ways of delivering goods to customers’ doorsteps as quickly as possible, so they don’t need to wait for them or go out of their way to pick it up themselves. This is where last mile delivery comes into play.
Why is the last mile so relevant? While not literal, this term does explain its purpose quite well; the last mile of delivery can at times be incredibly pertinent but hard to achieve. Well-managed last mile delivery services can drastically improve customer appreciation and loyalty, especially with those living in remote, hard-to-reach areas. For many of these people getting the parcel delivered to their home instead of having to go to pick it up from the post office or distribution center could make a lot of difference.
To achieve a high-efficiency delivery chain, the first thing to look into would be inventory management. Improving storage systems and reorienting warehouses creates an area for an increase in speed and precision. Knowing how many products to store in which storage area by following local demand results in a much faster delivery thanks to clever goods positioning, thus increasing customer experience.
A great inventory management system doesn’t handle just the storage within warehouses but also makes sure that the items in the delivery vehicles are also correctly placed to create the best access for items depending on the location of their delivery; this can create significant differences in the last mile delivery.
A well-planned route can increase overall delivery speed. Still, to maximize the quality of last mile delivery, the personnel should be well directed and competent enough to handle the challenges of mapping out the best way, even for locations beyond the boundaries of modern maps. Delivering to remote locations means that it’s not a question if the staff will need to find their way through unmapped areas, but it’s a given.
Routes through urban environments can also be messy at times, avoiding traffic and trying to achieve the customer demands within the delivery window. This is while real-time route optimization is increasingly relevant for all delivery vehicles.
Last Mile Challenges
The delivery process begins with the loading of goods at the start of the supply chain and finishes with the distribution of items to the customers. In the final parts of delivery, it tends to drop in efficiency thanks to difficult-to-maneuver locations and hardly accessible places. There are some potential ways of improving the quality of last mile delivery, decreasing its cost and overall negative impact while increasing the quality of service and improving the quality of the entire chain.
As it takes up a whopping 53% of the total shipment, the final step of the delivery process deserves a great deal of attention. To improve the last mile delivery process, you must fully understand what the exact and potential challenges faced in this part of the parcel’s journey are:
Products That Come in Numerous Boxes
Oversized items, such as furniture, are sometimes packaged in many boxes to divide the item’s weight. Shippers must evaluate how these items are packaged and sent to ensure that the delivery staff can quickly offload them, the customers can easily unpack them, and no items are lost in transit. While running a company that provides consumers with assembly services, the level of care needs to further increase to create more space for assembly and coordination.
In addition, depending on the product, the assembly may require the assistance of a trained professional, such as with gas ranges or appliances that require electrical or plumbing work. Therefore that’s something to think about when allocating drivers and staff.
There are only so many parcels that a delivery vehicle can hold, and there are only so many drivers who can operate those vehicles. Shippers must maintain a delicate balance to properly use their available resources and deliver the goods most efficiently. This is especially true for small and medium-sized shippers, who have fewer resources and, as a result, less margin for error. Another reason why many companies now choose to ship from stores is to distribute the number of items being shipped out in one geographic place due to capacity constraints.
While Amazon and other retail giants have their own fleets, most businesses rely on third-party fleets, sometimes with multiple carriers. This means that a percentage, if not all, of your last-mile logistics rely on people outside of your company.
Visibility Within the Supply Train
As a business, you need to know exactly where your orders are en route, which orders have yet to be dispatched, and when the original order date was placed. This is referred to as the “last mile supply chain.” If you’re utilizing an external carrier, you should be able to see which fleets are available to make your deliveries, the number of drivers available, and the estimated delivery timeframes to ensure that they match the delivery promise you’re making to your consumers.
With all of this information at your fingertips, you can better understand and handle your company’s last-mile logistics and discover inefficiencies quickly and simply.
Room for Improvement
While a difficult and expensive process with many challenges, last mile delivery is incredibly relevant. Thanks to its relevance, it can’t be ignored but only improved upon with new ideas for optimization and organization, which might help to speed things up and make them less costly; here are a few:
The performance of your drivers is one of the most important variables to monitor. On-time rates, service times, customer feedback, the number of goods delivered, and total distance traveled are all factors to consider. This data will aid your company in identifying areas for improvement as well as driver safety problems. With software, you can keep track of everything and filter data by teams, drivers, day, week, or even hour. You may also export the data to create thorough reports that you can use on a regular basis to keep track of the state of your last mile logistics and how you’re progressing.
Real-time Driver Tracking
Your clients will appreciate a better monitoring experience that includes real-time driver positions and accurate ETAs, all in one easy-to-use app. The software can help by allowing your clients to track their orders and track the truck their parcel is on, and communicate with the driver via SMS.
Improve Communication Between Drivers
You want to be able to communicate with your driver not only so that your customers can, but so that you can speak with them no matter where they are. This will aid in surfacing difficulties and resolving them in real-time – or, better yet, catching them before they become problems.
Automate the Driver Dispatch Process
With auto dispatching, you can cut down on service time and labor costs. To put it another way, you can save time by letting the software do the work for you. Automatic driver dispatch not only saves time by eliminating the need to operate it manually, but software can also change routes in real-time to ensure that they are as efficient as possible.
Automate Route Planning and Status Planning
Route planning can be automated to optimize the routes drivers follow and guarantee that drivers are assigned as efficiently as possible. The software performs this automatically by calculating the most effective route based on time, location, vehicle capacity, and traffic conditions. If something changes, the software adjusts the route and sends a real-time SMS update to the driver.
Moreover, most customers want to be able to track the status of their orders, as we indicated before. With automatic SMS notifications, last mile logistics software satisfies this demand by informing your consumers when delivery has begun, when it should be expected, and when it arrives.
Organize All Logistics Data in One Place
There’s only so much you can do with data coming in from your fleets, aggregator sites, external carriers, and other sources if it’s not organized. Businesses may better understand the ins and outs of their last-mile delivery process and make modifications as needed to continuously improve by collecting all of this data in one centralized area.
Even if this all sounds overwhelming, fret not – RedBird Logistics Services can be of aid. Contact them today and ensure your business is fully streamlined!