Last-mile delivery is an essential step of supply chain management as it takes care of the transportation process of the product to its final destination. When it comes to Last-mile delivery, there are many challenges that need to be addressed to ensure transparency, and increasing efficiency. Delayed delivery times not only influences customer satisfaction but also the reputation of the brand. To ensure better customer satisfaction, brands should constantly work towards improving their last-mile delivery and last-mile should be considered as a priority rather than an option, thus there should be an effective planning and implementation of it.
Last-mile shipping can be an expensive process, and delays in delivery and can increase the cost, since last-mile delivery is said to account for 20% of a shipping cost. As it includes everybody and everything from technologies used to track data, shipment, and method of shipping. Without further ado, let us have a look at the steps to improve last-mile delivery, but before that let us understand what is last-mile delivery.
What is Last Mile Delivery?
5 Steps to Improve Last Mile Delivery:
1. Identify Standard Procedures
To plan for the future, we first need to understand where we stand now. Brands should set out the standard procedures, they have to analyse the previous last-mile deliveries and understand what worked in the past and what didn’t work. Based on the past they have to provide adequate benchmarks to process the performance of the future. They have to list out the processes that worked in the past, and based on that best practices should be determined and must be followed at each progression of the last-mile delivery, brands should also identify performance gaps that when addressed will increase profitability and improve customer satisfaction. After setting up the benchmarks, brands should compare the planned versus actual results to check the results and pinpoint areas of the delivery schedule that must be adjusted to meet customer demands better.
2. Ensure Efficient Tracking System
One of the main challenges in last-mile delivery is to ensure a proper tracking system, so as to track productivity of delivery executives and to continuously optimize routes. Failing on either of the aspects can adversely affect the customer experience and inflate the operating costs. Additionally, packages are frequently lost or misplaced throughout last-mile delivery, there needs to be an effective tracking system in place even before the product leaves the warehouse, this ensures proper tracking of the product from placement to delivery. Tracking system allows the brand to know the exact location of the product, and brands can further compare the performance with standard procedures to have a complete understanding of the product.
3. Monitor customers
Monitoring the customer’s performance is way more valuable than it seems. Sometimes the history of customers can help identify and highlight delivery problems caused by the customers. Many times, customers don’t realize that they are the actual source of a delivery problem and by having this information, logistics & supply chain can work with customers to eliminate these problems in future deliveries.
4. Prioritize Customer Communication
Just monitoring the customers is not sufficient, brands should also prioritize the process of communication with the customers. In addition to providing the customers the power to choose delivery times, brands should also ensure proper communication with the customer, for example when the order was packed and when was it transported from the warehouse and so on. Keeping the communication channels open is a crucial aspect of delivery which keeps the customer informed about the location of their package throughout the supply chain and final mile distribution process which inturn increases trust in the brand.
5. Auto-Allocation of Resources
With the help of AI and Machine learning algorithms, brands can auto allocate resources like transport, drivers, and inventory, which saves time and money. Without automation the result is a huge group of confused and overwhelmed employees. So work from the ground to the top, from the first mile of the supply chain to the last in order to optimize warehousing facilities and inventory so that packing and deliveries are streamlined appropriately. The system can further assess the number of orders for a location which can be fulfilled which in turn increases resource utilization.
Finally, a last mile shipping strategy is successful when performance is measured; because whether it is cart abandonment, or excessive shipping fees, or even charges on returns, these could be negatives and are not good ways to manage the business. These core fulfillment tasks are integral to the success of an Ecommerce business because a smooth experience with a streamlined last mile delivery ensures that customers are happy leading to a generation of revenue.