Published On: December 29, 2021
Last Updated: April 15th, 2022
Is your last-mile delivery service a strain on your logistics & supply chain business?
It won’t be if you understand where the actual burden lies and how to unload it.
In today’s digital age, customer expectations for online delivery are rising unstoppably. – same-day delivery, free delivery, and real-time tracking of orders are the main demands of today’s customers.
Its impact? – increased costs, growing service requirements, and broader supply chain complexity!
To address these challenges, in this blog, we’re going to explore best practices for last mile delivery optimization and how to make it as efficient as possible for supply chain & logistics businesses.
But first, let’s start from the basics.
What is last-mile delivery?
The term ‘last-mile delivery’ originally came from telecommunications companies where the last-mile is considered to be the connection from the ISP to the user’s location, either home or office.
However, the ‘last-mile delivery’ is now often used by almost all delivery businesses where the term is used for transportation of merchandise from nearest or local distribution hub to the customer’s location.
The main goal of last mile delivery solutions in logistics and supply chain business is to deliver the package or an order to the end-customer as fast as possible, making the entire transportation experience quick and hassle-free for every party involved.
In a nutshell, Last mile delivery not only make sure of quick and hassle-free delivery but also ensures that you’ve happy & satisfied customers. Because at the end of a day, customer is KING!
So, now that you know what is last mile delivery and why last mile delivery optimization is not only important but also essential, let’s move forward & discuss the best practices for optimizing last mile delivery for your logistics and supply chain business.
Best practices for optimizing last mile delivery
While the best practices differ from organization to organization, but the below-mentioned practices can be applied to any logistics & supply chain business, or in fact to any business that delivers.
These practices are basically a step-by-step process for establishing, streamlining, managing, measuring, and improving last mile delivery performance.
Have a proper plan in place
Businesses offering last mile delivery option should consider making their operations the same way an enterprise do with their warehouse and factory operations.
To put it simply, enterprises usually make tightly engineered plans for their productions, warehouse operations, and also adapt tools that make benchmark performance against those established plans.
They make their plans well-researched and granular to manage their assets as well as manpower for optimal utilization.
Logistics & supply chain businesses need to bring the same thinking and process to optimize their last mile delivery services.
The situation becomes worse when you and the provider’s PM are at odds when there’s a change in scope.
Leverage modern technologies that fit your business needs
Right now, there are lots of modern technologies available in the market to help Logistics and supply chain businesses boost their last mile delivery services.
And businesses looking to avoid hiring in-house software development professionals to avoid extra financial costs – an outsourced, custom, last mile delivery system is the best choice.
Same way, you can also consider last mile delivery app development services from an offshore technology vendor.
A mobile-based logistics application can offer advanced functionalities and can also be integrated with your main system that provides visibility, in-depth reports, and execution summary of the all distribution process.
Analyze & assess data
Once your last mile delivery software is built, implemented, and a base level of history available, you can analyze data to find gaps in your last mile delivery strategies.
In addition, your custom last mile delivery solution integrated with business intelligence can also help you identify where the potential cost saving exists and is achievable.
Not only that, but with a right outsourcing partner, you could also demand to include a functionality that ensures the information is accessible only to the right person, at the right time.
Establish standard procedures
Once you have base level of historic data and reports, you can further analyze them to establish better procedures in your business.
Remember, an in-depth data analysis can open doors to the development of tightly engineered plans.
As like we mentioned earlier, the best organizations and enterprises leverage the benefits of such plans to identify and establish standard operating procedures.
Although, keep in mind that the plans must be measurable and realistic to improve the performance of an individual or the entire process over time.
Monitor driver, not just the vehicle
Many logistics & supply chain businesses focus only on the vehicle and not the driver, which is a loss of opportunity in terms of driver’s productivity.
For instance, a DHL report estimates that 40-60% of driver’s time away from distribution center is not spent driving.
Now, to make sure that this time is most effectively spent, you must track and examine what a particular driver is doing at each stop.
In addition, you can also monitor timeline of routine tasks such as vehicle checks, loading time, etc. and manage these activities more effectively to get drivers on the road faster.
Monitor your customers as well
Monitoring your customer’s performance is way more valuable than it seems. For example, tracking and maintaining customer history can also help to identify and highlight delivery problems caused by your 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 businesses can work with customers to eliminate these problems in future deliveries.
Keys to last mile delivery efficiency
As you already know, the last mile delivery is the final stage – the hand off between the business and the customer.
But, to get to this stage, your business needs to have delivery efficiency in place to meet customers’ demands. And, in order to create this kind of operational efficiency, there are 4 keys all logistics & supply chain businesses must consider.
In most typical supply chain & logistics businesses, the inventory tracking gets ended as soon as the inventory is loaded into a truck.
The result? – The last mile delivery becomes invisible.
But, if you’d like to optimize your last mile delivery services at optimal level, then you must leverage technology to extend the visibility all the way to the last mile.
For example, you can adopt a last mile delivery system that allows you to scan items once they enter a truck and then keep tracking them till their end-point.
This way, you’re turning your delivery truck into a moving warehouse, having the complete visibility over all inventory in real-time.
Read More: How to Improve Inventory Management Control
Manage third-party drivers
Businesses that deliver, whether it’s logistics & supply chain companies, an eCommerce, or a retailer, often have different kinds of drivers.
In fact, after the on-demand industry boom, many businesses have started utilizing independent, freelance drivers as a part of their local fleets through custom mobile apps.
Similarly, you can also leverage last mile delivery app development services from a technology vendor to build a mobile app and manage these drivers on the same dashboard and using the same system.
Route optimization plays an important role in logistics & supply chain business. But still, most businesses don’t have the capability to use real-world data to help optimize routes in real-time.
For instance, tracking data like what was delivered and what wasn’t, along with how long it took a driver to reach each location allows to better plan the routes in future.
In fact, by having such kind of data, businesses can also create more efficiency around hiring independent, freelance local drivers.
For example, by having a history of order volume on given week days, you can predict and plan that on fixed days of week or on fixed hours of a day; the demand will be lower, resulting into not needing much staff on those days or during those hours.
Proof of delivery
In the good old days, the proof of delivery was based on signature. But, that’s not enough now.
Therefore, it’s best to utilize a digital time stamp that attributes time & place gives way more security and a concrete proof that a package was delivered.
In Conclusion…Go The EXTRA MILE!
Last mile delivery is becoming an increasingly important part of providing the services that customers expect.
Therefore, put customer first! Being a customer-driven business is a necessity today and 24/7 customer care, website, mobile app, and social networks play vital role in boosting your logistics & supply chain business.
Simply put, look at your existing business with a fresh eye and start applying above strategies one-by-one to improve your service and lift your customers’ satisfaction ratio.