The last mile – the moment of the final sprint
Among the different steps that make up a logistics chain lies a key point in which a competitive advantage can be achieved, it is known as the last–mile. This designation refers to the end of the delivery process- the most complex and expensive, where it is necessary to innovate to achieve greater efficiency. Therefore, it is crucial to have the rightful partners. In the following article we will discuss some key points that allow the improvement of the last-mile logistics. McKinsey and Company has reported that package delivery is expected to double its current value of $83 billion within 10 years. However, more than 61% of logistics companies agree that last-mile delivery is the most inefficient process in the entire supply chain.
Within this phase, eCommerce faces a wide variety of problems that must be addressed efficiently. Last-mile delivery costs are substantial—amounting to 53% of the total cost of shipping. Due to this, the last-mile has become the first place to implement new technologies and increase efficiency.
The recipient’s absence, legal delivery with a required signature, and low-demand areas are the three main inconveniences that can cause a failed delivery, increasing the cost of the entire process and delaying the arrival of the product to the customer. From delivery trucks losing items to cyclists delivering crumpled packages to confusing return policies, last-mile delivery is full of challenges. Investing time to create a strategic last-mile plan that clearly defines goals, policies, and standard operations can cut down costs and allow continuous analysis along with ongoing optimization.
In short, a series of strategies that improve the process can be applied. Here we summarize 6 of the most important keys to succeed in the logistics of the last-mile.
Diversity of deliveries
Deliveries should not stick to the traditional method of leaving the package in the hands the client at home. The possibility that the client is not home could result in having to return the package with the consequent associated cost.
Real-time communication with the client allows you to update your delivery point or even arrange a new location with the courier within your delivery area. In addition, you can rely on other delivery points such as fixed lockers (PUDO) with a collection key or local distribution points in which the courier deposits the package safely for the client to pick them up at a convenient time. With these options both parties benefit: companies avoid a second delivery and the customer has a greater availability to receive their product.
Improvement of delivery fleets
The delivery vehicles of the last-mile are another point at the focus of innovation. Environmental restrictions and traffic within large cities are causing the change from traditional vans to other vehicles with greater mobility and lower emissions.
Bicycles and electric motorcycles are becoming increasingly common for the last-mile. These methods of transportation allow for the courier to move with greater freedom and the ability to park in smaller spaces, increasing the efficiency of the delivery route. In addition, zero emissions are an aid to the planet and great business advertising.
Route planning software
Using software specifically designed for these processes allows for more efficient routes. Through this, it is possible to reduce fuel consumption, improve service, and increase efficiency of the overall process.
These types of systems have real-time information from traffic to help the courier establish the optimal delivery route. These programs work in the cloud, allowing for continuous communication with the company along with the ability to resolve any issue that may arise in the process.
Real time monitoring
In order to carry out the last-mile delivery, not only does internal communication matter, but the communication with the client is equally important. For this, real-time monitoring is one of the best available options. The logistics monitoring systems deployed in the cloud allow for the supervision, modification, and control over the entire process of the last-mile from any device with an Internet connection (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc).
Information on the approximate time of delivery, delays, or incidents (vehicle issues) can be available to the receiver through a mobile device. Through this, claims can be avoided, and the percentage of initial deliveries completed within the scheduled time is improved. You can add various options, such as the ability to change the delivery point or change the time of delivery.
Data collection is a necessity in every department within a company. Data collection reveals the efficiency of the delivery system, what strategies are working, and which need improvement. Information helps to achieve better decision making that allows for continuous improvement and progress towards greater customer satisfaction.
To carry out an efficient last-mile logistics service, it is essential to have an experienced partner with the technical capacity to develop this process. Reducing delivery times and costs allows for an increase in the the benefits of each sale, resulting in a satisfied customer. Both factors allow the company to continue growing every day.
Invest Time in Finding the Right Delivery Partner
There are many last-mile delivery services, so the company must make sure to select the right one. It is necessary to take the time to investigate any potential associate company. It is essential to know their specializations, what markets they partake in, and what technological solutions they bring to table.