The final mile of distribution as your products arrive at your customers’ doors is pivotal. If they wanted to travel to purchase a product, they likely would have locally. So, it’s key to make the interaction a good one for the customer. But there’s a lot that can stand in the way. Here are some of our secrets of how to master these obstacles:
The last mile of a logistics network can cost up to 30% of the overall logistics plan despite the short ground coverage. This is partially due to the technology needs for communication and transparency, but most frequently it is caused by inefficient route planning, fleet operation, and the doubled costs in the case of a delivery failure and the need to reschedule. And these costs have an impact on business. High delivery costs lead to an increase in abandoned cart rates.
But advanced technology and route planning can have a huge impact on costs, as can working with a 3PL provider. Third party logistics companies work to pool the resources of many businesses and achieve a greater economy of scale than any of those businesses could do on their own, which creates opportunities to implement cutting edge technology and negotiate shipping prices.
Lack of Efficiency
Inefficiencies stack up quickly in a supply chain, and nowhere is it more impactful than in the last mile since carriers need to make many stops along their route. Even a mild dip in efficiency will lead to a rise in delayed and failed delivery attempts as well as frustrated customers, which can then affect your customer service teams—especially when it affects high-volume seasons like the holidays. But last mile delivery software can streamline the journey from warehouse to their house, and having access to local carriers with knowledge of reroutes can make all the difference. These are the kinds of relationships 3PL providers can offer your business.
Lack of Transparency
In today’s market, online shopping consumers expect a tracking code with updates at major nodes, but this is meeting a bare minimum requirement to see the delivery status. To inspire customer loyalty, it’s now more effective to provide greater detail with delivery management software that provides real-time status. This will allow clients to witness every step of the last-mile process. Not only does this put the customer’s mind at ease, particularly with high-value purchases, but it can help your team quickly track down the package when one goes missing. It’s an easy way to put the client’s mind at ease that the situation can be rectified without further disruption.
Inadequate Tech Solutions
One of the biggest challenges shipping and delivery companies face is the inability to stick to predetermined timelines. Duplicate scheduled deliveries and unexpected obstacles kill efficiency and raise costs, and delays can harm a brand’s reputation, losing customers over time, ultimately affecting your bottom line. But having a GPS system installed on tracking vehicles paired with internet of things capabilities for each package can give you access to monitoring the entire last-mile journey, predict hurdles, and proactively devise a strategy to alleviate them. Paired with route planning and seamless communication with the driver, this supply chain technology can help safeguard your business.
Bad weather, vehicle malfunctions, traffic, construction, faulty GPS directions. Anyone who has driven a car is aware of how many things can get in the way of arriving on time. The same is true for a delivery vehicle. How many times have you experienced traffic because one couldn’t park properly and so closed down a lane of traffic?
An efficient last-mile delivery process demands confronting these kinds of challenges proactively. To do so will require modern technology, transparency, smooth communications, and just a little luck. Taking the time to create contingency plans for unpredictable obstacles and having access to local knowledge can be a huge step up in helping alleviate these concerns before they strike. Think of it as customer service training.
Last mile logistics planning includes a huge number of factors that change distinctly from neighborhood to neighborhood, let alone one corner of the world to another. But you don’t have to take it all on alone. Reach out to our team to learn more about how a third party logistics partnership can help grow your business and allow you stay focused on what you do best.