The e-commerce industry growth rate means that every supply chain strategy now extends to last mile delivery.
Consumers are expecting to receive their packages quicker than ever before. They are also expecting to be able to keep track of them 24/7. Consumer expectations to receive packages quickly, puts pressure on retailers and suppliers. This must be achieved while increasing revenue without increasing expenses.
A crucial element involved in providing last mile delivery services today is route optimization.
- is key in meeting consumers’ demands
- ensures that packages are delivered to customers in the most efficient and timely manner possible.
- allows companies to know where each driver is and how many deliveries they have for the day – this is key to determining the most cost-efficient routes
- enables delivery companies to save money when it comes to fuel/labor costs
- increases driver productivity by maximizing delivery driver hours
Another element of incorporating last mile delivery into your supply chain is having the ability to keep track of packages. Using tracking technologies carriers are able to know where shipments are and when they will be delivered. Very often, multiple partner agents are involved in delivering an item. Visibility also applies to who has custody of a shipment at each leg of the journey. In some applications where important items, such as medical specimens are in transit, it may also be desirable to know who has custody.
Establishing a chain of custody typically involves capturing data such as:
- individual’s name
- individual’s signature
- GPS co-ordinates
- time and date details
Carriers may also have an interest in sharing shipment visibility with other stakeholders. For ecommerce applications, delivery companies will share tracking data with their customers (retailers) as well as their customers’ customers (online shoppers).
Finally, obtaining proof of delivery is key for last mile delivery. This ensures that items in transit were successfully delivered to the right recipient. To avoid any complications between the customer and the supplier, proof of delivery allows for proof that the package has arrived and is also in good condition. Not only is this beneficial for the customer but by securing proof of delivery you also get the opportunity to reduce paperwork. By reducing paperwork you get rid of the chance of lost documents, reduce the number of errors that occur and also reduce the number of damaged documents. Secondly, you have access to real-time information through proof of delivery because as soon as the signature is received from the customer the system will take that in and process it immediately, and that information can lead to even quicker invoicing.
When it comes to increasing productivity last mile delivery is the direction shipping couriers should be heading into. The reason being because it not only allows a more efficient experience for consumers but for the retailers and couriers as well. As the e-commerce industry continues to grow the efficiency will need to grow with it, therefore incorporating last mile delivery is certainly something that can speed up that process.