With customer expectations during deliveries becoming more and more demanding, businesses need to ensure that these expectations are being satisfied. In order to ensure that deliveries are on time, businesses need to optimize last-mile delivery, but how do they do that?
What is Last-mile Delivery?
Last-mile delivery is a term used by delivery businesses used to describe the movement of goods from the warehouse to the final destination which is usually a personal residence. The movement of goods to the end-customer needs to occur in the fastest time possible, ensuring customer satisfaction. Making the process quick can be challenging as last-mile delivery is known to be the most expensive and time-consuming part of the entire delivery process.
Last-mile Delivery Benefits
There are key benefits to last-mile delivery, these benefits include:
1. Real-Time Delivery Tracking
With the use of last-mile solutions, delivery companies are able to offer their customers delivery updates as they can track deliveries in real-time. The tracking abilities are available until the delivery is completed, which increases customer satisfaction.
2. Improves Customer Satisfaction
Customers receive constant communication and visibility during the delivery process due to last-mile solutions. Customer engagement reduces miscommunication and queries that customers have, this translates to an increase in customer satisfaction through the delivery process.
3. Flexible Deliveries
Last-mile solutions know and understand that your customers all lead different lifestyles and to accommodate those differences, there is the option for flexible deliveries. Flexible deliveries lead to customer satisfaction, and they are another method that reduces failed deliveries.
4. Route Planning
Last-mile solutions can effectively re-route deliveries when they receive updates of changes that might cause delays. These changes are communicated to drivers, allowing them to choose the better. The ability to plan and change routes ensures that deliveries are always efficient.
Strategies to Improve Last-mile Delivery
Offering the best last-mile delivery plays an important part in the success of any e-commerce or delivery business. Not being able to manage last-mile deliveries can lead to customer dissatisfaction and reduce the business’ profits, therefore there need to be strategies in place to manage last-mile delivery. The following 5 strategies can assist any business in improving the last-mile deliveries.
1. Have Plans to Manage Last-mile
It could be difficult to effectively manage last-mile if there is no clear plan to follow. Last-mile operations should be managed in the same way as warehouse and factory operations are managed. One clear way to do this is through implementing a plan that is structured and well-researched that stipulates have assets are managed and how all the staff needed for last-mile will be handled. Planning ahead ensures that all resources optimize last-mile deliveries as you will know how resources are to be allocated.
2. Make Use of Technology
Technology is known to improve operations, regardless of the context or industry. Therefore, making use of technology in last-mile deliveries is able to improve your operations. There are different kinds of software available such as GPS tracking software or route optimisation software which can be used to improve last-mile.
There are different options in managing the software as well as you can have it in-house or choose to outsource if you do not want to incur extra financial costs. You can choose to integrate mobile-based logistics applications into your main system which would still be able to offer you full visibility and reports regarding your delivery process.
3. Review Data
After implementing last-mile software, you would generate data based on your distribution process and establish your base level. The data generated should be analysed to find any flaws in your last-mile delivery strategies. While finding flaws seems negative at first, but it is beneficial as you will know which areas to improve in order to reduce costs and customer satisfaction. If you chose to outsource, you will still be able to access this data from your outsourcing partner.
4. Have Standard Procedures
Once you have established your base level of historic data and generated reports, it will become easier to implement procedures to follow for your business. These procedures allow you to create better plans to manage last-mile deliveries. The plans that you create should not only be realistic but should also be measurable allowing you to constantly make improvements. The added benefits of having standard procedures in place ensure that deliveries follow a better standard in how they are carried out.
5. Keep Track of Customer Data
Customers are an important part of last-mile deliveries which is why you need to guarantee their satisfaction. However, customers can also be the root of delivery problems which is why you need to monitor them. Monitoring your customers requires you to look at their delivery history and looking at any issues that occurred during deliveries that might have been caused by them. By doing so, you can adopt strategies to prevent them from happening again in future deliveries.
Last-mile delivery is an important part of meeting customer expectations. For this reason, it is crucial that you constantly adopt strategies that optimize last-mile. Following the strategies offered will be able to do just that.