Consumers’ demands for speed, flexibility and transparency, as well as companies like Amazon and Alibaba have completely changed e-commerce.
Today, the reality is that if companies don’t offer same-day delivery, the customer service experience will be affected.
This is putting an unprecedented level of pressure on the entire ecosystem, and what used to be a challenge for retailers is now something that many other industries need to take into consideration.
That’s why businesses will need to find alternatives to maximize the use of their resources and fleets in order to build a more sustainable last mile ecosystem.
Unpredictable demand, new consumption patterns and customers’ need for transparency have deeply impacted the delivery world, which means that it’s never been more important to maintain an agile, flexible last-mile delivery ecosystem to gain yourself a competitive advantage.
A key element of a resilient last-mile delivery ecosystem is having access to end-to-end visibility (control tower), the ability to track items at every point at each stage of the delivery and the tools to spot potential issues during the process.
Visibility through live tracking helps businesses respond to major external events and bridge the gap between the control tower and your fleet of drivers.
A successful delivery model means admins need to have an end-to-end overview (plan, schedule, manage) of the deliveries, and lack of control is perhaps one of the most common challenges logistics companies face right now.
Having visibility across your extended supply chain network at every tier enables early warnings about disruptions and issues. An early warning allows you to mitigate supply disruptions before operations and performance are negatively impacted.
Enabling real-time visibility and alerts across multiple tiers requires the right technology and expertise.
A few use cases here would be:
- An advanced dashboard, which doubles as a “control tower” to help organize all deliveries in one place and have an overview of the entire operations flow.
- A complete control of deliveries and drivers – think easy planning, assigning and managing orders in a repository which allows businesses to visualize all jobs and automatically assign them to the available drivers, thus creating a transparent order fulfilment cycle.
- Redefining route optimization by setting up parameters like vehicle capacity, delivery windows and zoning to determine the best way drivers can perform deliveries
While in the past the only decision businesses had to make was whether to use an in-house fleet or an outsourced delivery partner, the reality for many companies today is that they have to manage multiple 3PLs, fleets, and even freelance drivers or contractors.
The current landscape will continue forcing businesses to be open to new ‘hybrid’ logistics model, using a combination of delivery companies, technologies, and distribution partners to serve an increasingly demanding and global customer base.
Let’s look at how Uber and other companies have changed the way services are done these days. The ubiquitous company, which was one of the first tech companies that disrupted how the on-demand industry operates has really opened new doors for similar on-demand services.
One immediate consequence was that the on-demand delivery culture has pushed businesses to adopt different strategies when using tech to close the gap between consumers and services.
This is how the gig economy started booming. Today, in order to cope with the shortage of drivers and the need for flexible fleets that are available based on business demand, the sharing economy will become even more prominent over the next few years that more companies will need to find alternatives to help them create a more flexible logistics infrastructure.
One use case would be during peak seasons or when experiencing large amounts of deliveries; this is when companies find it difficult to manage their delivery operations.
The conclusion is that companies will have to find alternative ways and explore delivery solutions which help them better manage multiple fleets to deliver the optimal delivery experience for their customers.
While technology represents the foundation of this entire operation, allowing companies to automate and optimize processes, the data behind every action taken is incredibly valuable to identify potential patterns and forecast a better operational flow for future deliveries.
And this is where technology has always been the medium for such strategic disruptions — with the key performance catalyst being the entire data flow.
Through data, companies can easily identify recurring issues from the exact time when demand is at its peak or throughout the entire process.
This means that each day the system would learn new things that would help the company create better delivery operations in the future.
It’s also important to trace the physical last-mile delivery process to understand its flow and where tech solutions can step in to help.