As we see the shift from the physical shops to the eCommerce, last-mile delivery gains huge importance, with brands mandated to guarantee customers are provided quality and timely service. It’s a process that must be transparent to the customers and influence how they view the service.
Typically, it consists of centrally processed online orders, with both buyer and seller knowing where the item is. Here, packages get assigned to particular routes serviced by specific companies. Then they reach the addressee. Last-mile delivery is gaining importance as eCommerce becomes a norm, and customers demand a good experience when the order reaches them. Hence, the eCommerce field is seeing a boost of ideas around how to implement solutions for this critical point. Last-mile is mission-critical for those who deliver—the logistics providers.
To understand this, we need to know why the last-mile delivery is so important. With COVID-19, eCommerce burgeoned in ways unimaginable, and growth meant for 4-5 years happened in a few months and the trajectory continues. In a highly competitive field now, businesses are setting expectations around cost and convenience, around speed, because that is where maximum impact can be made. Improving logistics has become an imperative, despite prohibitive costs. Almost certainly, businesses are scaling up because customers expect to track orders in the supply chain. Pickrr has also scaled up.
The Steps Involved
- Order requested and digitally recorded
- Order arrived at the hub
- It is assigned to a personnel
- Dispatched to the vehicle after the assignation of route
- Scanned to keep all stakeholders updated
- Package confirmed to have arrived at the address.
Problems with Last-mile Delivery
The challenges are many, making the process of last-mile cumbersome and expensive. The demand for speed, poor logistics’ visibility, redundant software, and inefficient routing plans and tools further complicate matters. As order volumes increase, there is increasing pressure to shorten delivery time. This is where businesses compete to excel in last-mile delivery. Finding executives when resources are exhausted is another challenge.
Lack of visibility in logistics
Customers do not think tracking codes seal the deal for them. They expect real-time tracking causing concern to eCommerce sellers. Many companies use legacy supply-chain and delivery processes. Poor/non-existent interoperability causes delays adding up to the burden of last mile.
Fast delivery is synonymous with efficiency of the last-mile logistics. Thus, maximising load capacity is a must for the business because any inefficiency is very costly for the retailers and companies. Same is for dispatchers who plan routes and call centers that deal with angry customers. Innovative software helps automate processes to decide where to fulfill orders, dispatch to fleets across various areas. With manual routing changing routes due to traffic, road closures, accidents are inevitable and managing them is a mammoth task, causing delays.
Increasing carbon emissions
Logistics is responsible for over 20% of carbon emissions. Consumers are ready to pay to demand carbon-neutral systems. Businesses have to implement plans and implement best practices to reduce fuel consumption.
On-demand vs scheduled deliveries
When it comes to planned deliveries, dispatchers review deliveries through a software on route optimisation. One has to think of driver ratings, transit time, vehicle capacity, etc. Efficiency also means different things for on-demand and scheduled deliveries. This typically needs dedicated technology.
Manual routing involves getting optimised routes. Dispatchers can innovate using their local knowledge, and drivers begin their work.
On-demand delivery means there is little scope for planning to optimise for speed. It does not allow the customers to make changes and, on the whole, is not very cost-effective. Time is at a premium, but delivery exceptions still happen. All these can impact last-mile delivery by impeding operational efficiency.
Delivery management software—the key differentiator
Innovation around technology is what’s needed most in last-mile logistics. It needs to provide much-needed flexibility, using manual and automated dispatch as required. There is no place for manual operations for businesses dealing with large volumes anymore. Real-time visibility of the last-mile operations is a prerequisite. The software should also align with your business logic.
Growth of home-delivery
Undeniably, eCommerce is seeing a boom, but it also presents unprecedented issues for those who provide the logistics in this last-mile. To remain in business, shipping companies have to keep sellers and buyers happy with their service.
Reducing delivery time through dynamic routing
There are now some solutions providing faster deliveries and better margins. Dynamic routing tools for tracking and planning in real-time are extremely useful. It would recommend efficient routes that deliver packages faster. Trigger alerts get sent if some hurdles come along and allow drivers to optimise routes and estimate delivery times.
Easy visibility and accuracy are key
Cloud-based platforms are the norm now, changing the game significantly. Coordination between all the arms are made much easier and smoother because of this. Pickrr’s last-mile delivery system ensures all of these.
Using similar dashboards is important to scale last-mile operations. While doing order fulfillment, it’s important to choose the best 3PL based on their specific needs as that is the face the customer will see at point of delivery.
Many companies offer premium services around convenience as well as safety. Satisfaction when the customer gets the packet at his door has become very important.
Customer experience is all-important now
To maintain loyalty from buyers, last-mile logistics need to ensure exceptional delivery experience
Using either third-party-logistics or owned fleets
It is sometimes necessary to have both to get timely and assured delivery.
Steps to Take for a Successful Last-mile Delivery
- Identify delivery models that work for your business. Adjust it to suit size/location/route differences.
- Ensure flexibility of operations. Offer multiple options of delivery.
- Use a no-friction process with full visibility.
- Use the software for optimisation of operations and schedule routes. Take into account size of vehicle, delivery time and other factors to better plan routes.
- All arms in the supply chain have to be in sync with inventories mapped and updated.
- Ensure proper data-collection and quality to aid streamlined assembly line.
- All stakeholders need to be kept in the loop. Delivery notification to be sent along with updates at every stage.
- Automated delivery management helps drivers onboard and deliver intuitively. This aids in speed, accuracy, providing updates, and proof of delivery. It gives drivers a real-time chance to update orders.
- Ask for customer feedback and use it to improve and address issues.
The Future of eCommerce
As the world of eCommerce grows, logistics will need to change too. All stakeholders must follow best practices to provide delivery options relevant to the customer. Technological tools today maximise efficiency quite easily. Pickrr has tools that can manage the current demands and are future-ready. They can deliver to an alternate destination, use drones if necessary. Routing software can prove a huge boon to accelerate this process.