Last mile delivery is the final step of the supply chain – the hand off between the business and the end customer. Studies show that customers value convenience over almost every other variable, and this, coupled with the cross-industry spike in online shopping, should incentivize enterprises to focus on providing convenient delivery options. However, providing the perfect customer experiences depends on efficient, flexible delivery operations – which in turn are based on having having the right the infrastructure and processes in place.
In order to create this kind of efficiency, and lay the groundwork for successful engagement during the last mile of delivery, there are 6 key elements to consider.
6 Last Mile Delivery Steps to Track, Automate, and Optimize
Inventory tracking has traditionally ended once the inventory gets on a truck. It’s imperative to leverage technology to extend this visibility all the way through the last mile of delivery to the final destination. Scanning items once they enter a truck and then tracking them to their end-point can turn a truck into a moving warehouse, where businesses are able to extend their visibility all the way through the last mile.
With this kind of infrastructure in place, businesses can know which driver and truck have a certain item and where it is at all times.
Visibility isn’t only necessary for the customer, but the business itself. Creating visibility over the supply chain, particularly the last mile, gives businesses a leg up and acts as a great competitive advantage.
From large companies to small ones, the ability to track where all drivers are at any given time allows for greater efficiency, on both the cost and operations sides. A centralized system where all data on driver locations is fed into allows businesses to keep track of drivers’ locations on map in real time and receive proactive smart alerts (e.g. idle, out of route, late) of their progress.
Data on Last Mile Delivery
Route optimization has always played an important part in logistics. However, often times there is a missing piece – the ability to use real-world data to help optimize those routes. For example: tracking data on delivery times from pickup to dropoff at the end location allows businesses to see where inefficiencies lie, in order to better plan their routes going forward.
Data like this can also be used for creating more efficiency around staffing. With daily data about delivery routes and order volumes, businesses can predict that on certain days of the week, or certain times of day, the demand will be lower and therefore they do not need to have as many drivers and staff on hand.
Managing Third Parties
Whether they are shipping companies, restaurants, or retailers, businesses who deliver often use a variety of delivery fleets. Many utilize third party fleets as well as independent, crowdsourced drivers, often in combination with an in-house fleet. Being able to manage drivers from third party sources on the same dashboard and through the same system as your own fleet is crucial for scaling last mile delivery operations.
Proof of Delivery
Generally, proof of delivery was based on having a signature, however this might not be enough for some. Being able to attribute a time and place, such as using a time and lat/long stamp, gives greater security and proof that a package was in fact delivered.
In the age of on-demand services and delivery, having the ability to assign deliveries on-demand to the right driver at the right place and the right time is critical. Dynamic on-demand dispatching, driver assignment as opposed to fixed routes and orders, businesses should be able to assign orders on the fly, as they come in, to the driver that is best suited to deliver the item in a timely fashion.
Want more best practices for establishing efficient last mile operations? Read our free book, Delivery in the Age of Amazon