In this piece, we’ll be talking about a concept called the “last mile,” which many manufacturers are probably familiar with. But for those who might not know the term, it simply refers to the delivery of products from a transportation hub to their final destination. For the path we’ll be talking about today, the final destination is a personal residence and not a business or retailer.
Obviously, the goal of any logistics one uses for the last mile is delivery to the final destination as quickly as possible. And in an era of e-commerce retailers – specifically Amazon – quick purchasing means the delivery must be even quicker, largely because of increased customer expectations. The old 6-to-8-week delivery model is simply inconceivable in the age of point-and-click purchasing.
So how do companies change and improve their logistics to get their products to customers as quickly as possible? Here are some trends and innovations that some businesses use.
The use of electronic delivery drones is doubtless one of the biggest innovations in last mile logistics. Drones provide an obvious advantage over other delivery methods simply because there are capable of navigating, or bypassing, difficult terrain, fly over obstacles and move faster than most vehicular or even airborne delivery methods.
There’s also an environmental advantage because drones are not as impactful to the world as trucks or airplanes using fossil fuels and creating harmful emissions.
There have been many new developments in software over the last few years that have had a major effect on last-mile delivery, allowing established companies like UPS and FedEx to improve their services. Much of this new technology revolves around priority delivery customization services like on-demand or same-day delivery.
But there are also new programs that create algorithms for delivery routing, and a concept called task-courier matching, which determines the best carrier for the delivery of a product. There’s also an extension of this concept that allows the customer to search for the couriers and companies that work best for them.
There are new tools that allow merchants and providers to keep customers updated on their order status. With these new tools, merchants are able to alert customers about more than just when their order has been shipped, and the delivery providers can give information about the estimated delivery date and even the time, along with emailed or texted confirmation of delivery or notifications about a required signature.
Just as retailers can use advanced analytics to anticipate demand and determine the preferred storage levels at each of their warehousing locations, delivery services can use those same analytics to anticipate the demand for their couriers.
Using a past date from the same period of previous years, a delivery service can predict potential order volume and plan out the number of drivers they’ll need, the optimal schedule to have the drivers on and other workflow needs, and they can even partner with other companies to prepare for spikes or valleys in demand.
Whatever the delivery service needs of your company are, they aren’t going to be useful unless you have finished, reliable products to sell. Click here to find out how Pivot International can help you keep up in the modern marketplace.