Last Mile & Outdated Technology is Losing Customers

The problem with the elusive last mile can affect your whole business

When delving into specifics surrounding the technology already in place, it is interesting to note the consequences that are flagged. Almost half of T&L companies (49%) agree their technology is outdated, rising to 56% large organisations (those with 5,000 to 10,000 employees worldwide). So how can you ensure the last mile deliveries don’t hit a bump in the road?

Running a business is hard work. You need to ensure everything is spot on, from managing your suppliers to pleasing your customers and everything in between. But did you know that high shipping costs are the number one reason behind cart abandonment? So how can you ensure the last mile deliveries don’t hit a bump in the road?

According to Statista, 63% of digital shoppers abandoned shopping carts due to this reason in 2018.

Why does delivery management and the last mile require such attention?

28% of the total delivery cost comes from the last mile, and this is conveniently passed on to the customer. And that’s not a small amount.

Surprisingly, this is not a new issue. 52% of retailers identified delivery/fulfilment logistics as a significant last-mile challenge. Even ecommerce giants like Amazon are not exempt. More importantly, your shipping method has a substantial impact on the bottom line of your business.

“The last-mile delivery is the most expensive part of the supply chain for e-commerce companies,” The question now is, how can this be managed?

Let’s take a closer look at the issues before we delve into the solution.

Businesses need to look for a more effective delivery service in order to stay in stride with the increasingly competitive world of commerce.

Common problems related to delivery include:

Other challenges include understanding delivery addresses, identifying the cheapest routes, lack of effective communication with drivers, etc. Moreover, with the lack of databases of deliveries, agents, and customers, processes can be time-consuming and expensive.

On the other hand, consumers are getting more demanding. And every business owner knows how important it is to keep customers happy. According to gsmtasks.com, 86% of buyers will pay more for products when CX is good. So what makes for a good experience? Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Security. Friendliness.

The solution is relatively simple- it’s time to bring in technology and improve your offerings.

A delivery management software is a comprehensive tool that digitalizes core logistics operations, such as dispatching, tracking deliveries, viewing order details, expected delivery time, vehicle tracking, route planning, and more.

The availability of real-time information significantly enhances shipment visibility, improves operational efficiency, saves time and resources, reduces human errors, and boosts customer service. With the best delivery options at your fingertips, you’ll be better equipped for delivery management.

It’s time to leverage your delivery system and learn how to work faster and more efficiently.

Let’s take a closer look at what efficient last mile delivery management entails:

Detailed Planning

Just like other aspects of your business, you need a well-thought-out plan to ensure goods are received, stored, and delivered in the best way possible. And that means ensuring that supply chain operations are performing optimally and maximising profits.

So what should they be planning? Solutions that yield maximum output for the lowest cost in the shortest time, especially where transportation is concerned.

Additionally, a wise manager will plan for emergencies such as unavailability of transportation, problems with customer orders, resource constraints, or internal issues in the organisation. So even if they encounter unforeseen circumstances, businesses can still handle your shipments.

Establish order priorities

Orders need to be organised by priority. As part of your route optimisation strategy, you need to identify the best way shipping method. That includes:

  • Loading close deliveries on the same truck
  • Filling vehicles to capacity
  • Building routes starting with points farthest from the depot
  • Form teardrop-pattern routes so they don’t cross
  • Plan deliveries during pickup

Introduce automation

Automating your shipping can increase the efficiency and overall productivity of business processes. It can help pick orders faster, lower freight costs, find shorter delivery routes, and much more.

Not only that, it can offer real-time updates about the location of products from the moment it is dispatched from a supplier to when it is received at your facility to where it is stored to when it is delivered at its final destination.

Systems Integration

Logistics companies need different kinds of software to improve functionality and help in the management of warehouse operations.

Remember that an effective delivery management system cannot function optimally on its own. A warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or supply chain management (SCM) suite are good choices.

  • WMS offers solutions for controlling inventory (expiration date tracking, cycle counting), streamlining warehouse operations (receiving, put away, picking, packing, shipping), and possibly a few transportation management options such as shipment tracking.
  • SCM suites offer holistic management options, including supply chain (demand planning and execution applications), WMS warehouse management applications, and transportation management.
  • ERP suites offer software applications to facilitate processes across the enterprise, including HR, CRM, SCM, accounting, etc. It enables greater visibility and facilitates information flow within the organisation to support R&D, marketing, and logistics efforts.

Printing shipping labels & documents

An integrated system can automate these processes. Since sales channels already have information such as ship-from location, the final destination address, and product information like weight, they can automatically print shipping labels and freight documents.

This can help organisations reduce the risk of human errors while simultaneously speeding up the process. Moreover, because the system is also integrated with available shipping carriers, it’s easier to calculate the rate for sending shipments.

Tracking shipping costs

Companies need to manage shipping costs in order to remain profitable. And that means staying on top of:-

  • Multiple carrier rates
  • Transportation surcharges
  • Freight costs
  • Delivery routes
  • Packaging costs

But rates are constantly changing. However, incorporating the right technologies can generate advanced reports and in-depth insights into transport costs, spot errors, and influence decision-making strategies.

For instance, businesses need to devise a robust packaging solution that protects goods yet doesn’t increase weight or volume, which could adversely influence transportation costs.

Parcel track & trace

Customers typically demand free and fast delivery of their parcels. But to enhance CX, you need to help them know the status and delivery times. Track & trace options keep customers in the loop, helping them stay satisfied. More importantly, it improves your customer service as order tracking is more organised, and information can be accessed immediately.

Evaluation & efficiency

To ensure you’re investing in the best shipping methods, monitor and analyse the right metrics. On-time arrivals, employee productivity, ROI, and customer satisfaction are just a few ways to get an idea of how things are going. With the help of feedback, you can re-evaluate the efficiency of your current delivery routes and strategies.

Final thoughts

We all know that eCommerce is going to keep growing, especially with COVID-19 on our tail. But that means that you will need to perfect last mile delivery and strive to improve customer experience. In fact, it’s the secret to winning.

The greatest challenge we face, is striking the balance between customer satisfaction and profitability. Today, customers have higher expectations than ever, for a delivery that is both fast and free, with no inconvenience. For any organisation, this is no small feat. But technology can make life easier and less painful all round and at the click of a button. Last mile delivery problems need a mobile-first solution.

About us:

Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.

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