There have been many disruptions that have occurred for last-mile delivery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in ecommerce has led to new technologies and innovations to assist in these changes, and we will look at the innovations shaping logistics.
Last-mile delivery refers to the final step in the delivery process where a parcel moves from the transportation hub until it reaches its final destination, which is usually a personal residence. Last-mile is also an essential step of the delivery process, and businesses need to ensure that it is as efficient and quick as possible. Last-mile provides the following benefits.
- Boosts Productivity
Last-mile delivery solutions assist in eliminating the chances of unnecessary idling and unplanned diversions, ensuring that drivers always use the most efficient routes when making deliveries. All these factors play a role in increasing fleet productivity.
- Increased Transparency
Supply chain owners can see when orders were placed, who placed them, which employee will deliver the order, and when the delivery was delivered, which assists in increasing transparency.
- Increased Customer Service
As customers receive visibility regarding their orders’ status, from the time they place their order until they receive their orders, customers will have all the information they need at their fingertips. Customers having increased transparency will ensure that they have a positive delivery experience, increasing their trust in your business.
- Higher Profitability
By optimizing routes, increasing fleet productivity and customer loyalty, and reducing fuel consumption through route optimization, last-mile delivery will be able to save costs.
- End-to-end Visibility
Visibility is the most significant challenge when it comes to last-mile delivery. Through last-mile delivery solutions, businesses can gain real-time visibility of the location of their vehicles. Visibility is beneficial as it allows them to divert from a planned route to avoid idling.
Last-Mile Delivery Innovations
- More Customer Options
Customers are crucial for the success of the business, and therefore companies need to adapt to meet their customer’s changing demands in B2C or B2B markets. Some of the customer options that companies need to offer include home deliveries, different time windows, same-day delivery or alternative locations. Customers also want to receive better, predictive and real-time information about their delivery. Another expectation that customers have is time-in-full-no-error-no contact.
- Autonomous Vehicles
Robotisation is something that is steadily growing with there being the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Logistics businesses are now looking at ways that they can develop affordable and sustainable methods for last-mile deliveries. These vehicles are meant to address some of the challenges faced in last-mile deliveries, such as traffic congestion, reduced delivery capacity, driver shortages and so on. Autonomous vehicles such as drones ensure that deliveries become quicker, especially for deliveries made in remote locations and geographically challenging areas that might be difficult to drive on.
Delivery robots assist in removing trucks off the road that cause traffic congestion and ensure that quieter deliveries are executed. Delivery robots also help reduce picking and packing costs which further reduces the labour costs involved in the delivery process.
- Advanced Analytics
The increase in transportation costs is something that most logistics businesses are battling as last-mile contributes to most of the costs that companies incur. A solution that assists in resolving this challenge is advanced analytical insights that help businesses identify any customer-specific data that impacts last-mile transportation. Data is essential for the daily operations involved in last-mile delivery as it assists in last-mile logistics efficiencies. These efficiencies are created through several ways such as:
- Analytics assist delivery businesses in addressing common challenges that they experience, such as unexpected issues, delivery fail status and communication during delivery. These issues are addressed in real-time using data.
- Insights regarding local congestion can be gained using historical traffic statistics and real-time traffic data, which assists in creating patterns that businesses can use to optimise delivery routes.
With customer demands dramatically changing, businesses need to ensure that they constantly meet these demands. One of the demands that customers have is same-day delivery, and therefore companies need to ensure that they meet this through utilising urban warehouse space. Businesses can also use micro hubs, city hubs and shopping areas as they will influence mobility. With many cities developing new residential areas, this offers companies the opportunity to redesign and rethink neighbourhoods for moving people and goods.
- Dynamic Route Optimisation
With higher costs involved in ecommerce and many inconsistencies in the last-mile delivery process, ecommerce delivery companies need a delivery system that addresses these issues. Whenever customers make orders, they expect on-demand deliveries, time-slot based delivery, and the visibility of shipment movement. All these expectations and high attrition rates of delivery agents place immense pressure on delivery costs. The high attrition rates are influenced by the new delivery personnel experiencing difficulties when delivering packages to their final destination due to issues, such as an incorrect address, traffic congestion or newer areas. Therefore, solutions such as route planning assist in planning efficient delivery routes, regardless of limited vehicles and driver capabilities.
Dynamic route optimisation also assists businesses in achieving delivery metrics and remove any roadblocks in route planning. Through this, it benefits last-mile deliveries by scheduling deliveries based on their delivery, evenly distributing the number of deliveries each agent makes and the automatic creation of route plans for deliveries.