Last Mile Logistics: 7 Strategies for Successful Deliveries

Electronic commerce has generated an expansion and an increase in the market, at the same time that consumers demand more goods and services more frequently. This phenomenon has caused a greater demand when making last-mile deliveries by logistics companies.

According to the ” Connected Commerce ” study , prepared by Nielsen, convenience is one of the main triggers in purchasing decisions. Since buyers are looking for pleasant experiences, without friction and, above all, to save them time.

In this context, optimizing the delivery of products during the last mile is one of the most important and, above all, most expensive processes for companies. Depending on various factors and process characteristics, last mile logistics costs can address between 13% to 75% of total logistics expenses.

Thus, among the different processes in the supply chain, the last mile is considered the most expensive, inefficient and polluting stage, but at the same time it is one of the most vital for companies. This is because this stage is where online customers have direct physical contact with a person who represents the brand (the driver).

Therefore, organizations must compete with all their possible efforts to win over customers in that last phase of the shopping experience. More so, in a market that is being dominated by tech giants like Amazon .

This panorama highlights the great importance of technological tools to improve shopping experiences and optimize logistics processes in last-mile deliveries .

Main problems of last mile logistics

In recent years, special attention has been paid to the most common problems in last-mile deliveries , which is why we will present below what those problems are and the best practices and last-mile strategies to solve them.

The most common problems are:

Last mile failed deliveries due to absence of recipients

First, it is common that, at the time of making deliveries to homes , they are without residents, which translates into a failed delivery or an undelivered delivery. This problem results in significant unforeseen costs, in addition to unnecessary CO2 emissions for the environment.

Receiver signature required to complete last mile delivery

A second problem is related to the guarantee of compliance when a product is delivered, where a signature is necessary to verify that the delivery of merchandise to the consumer was made effectively.

Higher pollution for every last mile delivery in certain regions

A third problem is that, for some regions, the quantity of goods is too small to generate a profitable and efficient routing plan. For this reason, most last-mile deliveries are made by small vehicles, which implies that the carbon footprint per kg is higher than that of transport by a larger vehicle.

7 last-mile strategies for effective deliveries

While Amazon implements robotics, artificial intelligence and drone technologies to optimize and green its last-mile deliveries , the rest of the companies must begin a process of digital transformation that revolutionizes their internal capabilities.

In this sense, transport software for monitoring the last mile using smartphones is an important ally. When choosing one of them, it must be ensured that it meets certain special characteristics. These characteristics are what will allow to develop the 7 last-mile strategies for effective deliveries , which are:

  1. Use of mobile and cloud technologies
  2. Fleet management and route planning
  3. Control and management of the last mile
  4. Tracking the product to the customer’s door
  5. Empowerment of customers on the follow-up of their orders
  6. Business intelligence on logistics processes
  7. Measurement and continuous improvement of the customer experience

Thus, to effectively control distribution costs and provide exceptional last-mile service to customers , each company must develop a list of strategies tailored to their greatest needs and then integrate them into their business processes.

Let’s see, then, each of the strategies for last-mile logistics:

Use of mobile and cloud technologies

The logistics tracking systems deployed in the cloud allow to supervise, modify and control the entire process of the last mile from any device with an internet  connection ( smartphones , tablets , laptops , among others),

This gives managers and operators unprecedented operational mobility. With which, they can continue to carry out their functions from anywhere in the world 24 hours a day.

In addition, the most modern satellite tracking systems for logistics transport work through the smartphones of the carriers themselves. This eliminates the need for companies to invest in expensive standalone devices such as typical GPS hardware, which also requires constant maintenance and complicated setup.

In this sense, by implementing smartphone-based vehicle tracking systems, control over the last mile reaches a maximum level of efficiency, mobility, comfort and economy.

Fleet management and last mile delivery route planning

The type of fleet can play an important role in many ways, such as fuel consumption, achieving optimal loading capacity, efficient loading and unloading methods, safety, among other parameters.

For optimal routing, it is important to have postal services where carriers can be informed about the packages they have to pick up on the logistics route or when a consumer has changed the last mile delivery address from one moment to another.

For example, the control of vehicle fleets with Excel spreadsheets is a method that is still used by various distribution companies. This system allows manual control of repairs, expenses, vehicle maintenance and monitoring of logistics processes by means of spreadsheets. But today there are new online monitoring and control systems.

These new programs have been implemented to view in real time the process of each last mile delivery automatically.

Unlike manual monitoring systems, these tools keep control of both internal and external clients of the companies, notifying in real time about the status of dispatch shipments, giving visibility at any time that is necessary.

On the other hand, when making a purchase, customers expect to receive their orders as quickly as possible . Therefore, the speed of delivery in the last mile is the maximum differential value in all the retails and distributors that compete with each other.

Having a technology with which shipping routes are planned in seconds allows products to be dispatched almost immediately after purchase. Thus, the company manages to be more efficient compared to the rest, thus positioning itself better in the market.

Control and management of the last mile

It is important for companies to view last-mile operations in the same way that they do with factory or warehouse operations. Typically, companies establish plans designed only for their production lines, with specific tools that allow performance evaluation.

However, not all companies evaluate the importance of considering these same activity measurement and study plans for last-mile deliveries.

In this scenario, it is necessary to have an application specialized in last-mile logistics that offers advanced functionalities integrated into the same system, thus providing consistency in the generation of reports and execution, with ease of use and visibility throughout the logistics process of last mile .

Tracking the product to the customer’s door for the last mile

The real-time monitoring of the product during the last mile, and all the processes that this entails, is one of the most crucial factors in logistics management.

It is necessary to monitor, in real time, all the details of each of the shipments from when they are dispatched until they arrive at the customers’ doorstep. In this sense, the supervision over the vehicle fleet, the control of the routes, the shipping times, the obstacles in the way and the effective delivery rates must be maintained.

Exceptions such as bad weather, traffic jams, and unexpected delays are factors that slow down the speed of home deliveries. Even the best-made plans can fail, so contingencies must be established and delivery organizations must have real-time visibility immediately when these exceptions occur.

With optimum visibility into delivery operations, carriers can proactively respond to service interruptions or delays, and immediately adjust the schedule for the driver in question.

Empowerment of customers on the follow-up of their orders

Product tracking and last mile monitoring should be within the reach of customers, not just the company. Buyers are the people most interested in knowing the status of their order, the delay in delivery, the estimated time of arrival and the carrier’s data.

Empowering customers with this information, which they can consult from their mobile device, is a very important improvement in the shopping experience, thus stimulating loyalty as buyers.

In this way, after sales representatives can resolve customer problems more effectively and, in some cases, customers can be notified of pending delays and estimated arrival times, before they generate a complaint themselves.

Business intelligence on last mile logistics processes

In the case of outsourcing the logistics transportation service for last-mile deliveries , the company must begin to analyze the data to assess where its delivery strategies are out of line with its needs or those of its customers.

A technological solution with integrated business intelligence and reporting modules, as well as real-time visibility on each of the logistics processes, facilitates this analysis and allows the information to be accessible by the right people and at the right time.

Measurement and continuous improvement of the customer experience

Measuring customer experience is positive, capturing their history, and potential issues such as delays or receiver issues can highlight delivery failures that are bothering end consumers.

Most customers experience major problems and delays with last-mile deliveries , so with this information gathered, companies will be able to work with their customers to eliminate inconvenience and thus ensure better customer service.

Improving the customer experience has to be the most important goal of companies. Therefore, optimizing all the processes related to the last mile must be the priority both commercially and operatively.

To achieve this, organizations must understand what the shopping experiences are like for customers. Therefore, it is ideal that the same last mile monitoring tools allow direct communication with buyers, even in the post-sales phase.

In this way, their opinions about waiting times, the status of the product received, the treatment of the carrier, among others, can be collected from them. There are even logistics tracking tools that allow NPS and CSAT surveys to be deployed .

What is the first step to achieving success in the last mile?

The “Amazon effect” often instills fear and impotence among retailers. However, a company only becomes successful if it knows how to adapt to changes and market challenges. Therefore, organizations must learn from Amazon how to implement the different technologies in favor of logistics, sales and trade.

The main key and the first step to the success of the last mile are in the digital transformation. Implementing monitoring software like Ravenne Whope is not an option, but a necessity for traders who wish to maintain or improve their competitiveness and market positioning.

Ravenne Whope features for last mile logistics control

  • Online monitoring: view in real time the details of each of the deliveries or procedures in the field.
  • Quick implementation: with the creation of an account used through the Ravenne Whope application on smartphones.
  • Proof of Delivery – Records valuable information about form responses, photos, and signatures.
  • Alerts: proactively resolve customer issues.
  • Notifications to clients: clients can know the status and estimated time of delivery of their shipments via SMS or email.
  • Performance measurement: with real-time information to continuously improve the logistics operation.
  • Tracking widget: allows clients to check the status of the dispatch from the company’s own website.
  • Customer satisfaction: information on what the end customer thinks of the service provided.
  • GPS location via smartphone: locate each of the deliveries or users on the ground.

Our logistics software, in addition to improving companies’ productivity, provides optimal service performance to the end customer, ensuring that loads arrive safely and on time, thus offering an efficient and operational service during last-mile deliveries.

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