Last-mile refers to the last step involved in delivering an item from a distribution center to a customer. Most last-mile delivery services make use of a parcel carrier company to get the item delivered to the customer. A lot of businesses have identified this delivery function as the cornerstone that promises huge growth and profitability.
What are some of the challenges facing the last-mile delivery function?
In as much as this delivery service gets the items to the customers faster and more cost-effectively, it still comes with a few challenges that make delivery quite difficult. Some of the challenges that last-mile delivery services are faced with include:
- Problems navigating traffic and parking regulations
- Global deliveries may drastically increase the shipping costs
- The whole process is quite complex especially for large products that need to be skillfully unpacked and assembled
- There are concerns about the capacity and the shortage of drivers
On the brighter side, shippers are already coming up with solutions to make sure that last-mile delivery remains competitive. Some possible solutions to the challenges are:
- Drone and robots could help with making deliveries
- Better route optimization technology to help minimize the traffic-related problems
- Offering better incentives and fewer regulations to truckers who are looking for career opportunities
- The customers should have the option of picking up their items from designated locations
How can shippers improve their last-mile delivery services?
With an exponentially growing demand, more shipping companies need to offer improved last-mile delivery services. How can they make this a top priority? Here are some of the ways these companies can make sure that their customers get their items quickly:
- Give customers a voice
The customers should be allowed to choose their own delivery window so that the parcel can be delivered when there’s someone home. Having the order delivered exactly when it’s convenient for the customer is ideal for customer satisfaction.
- Continuously optimize operational efficiency
People are always placing orders at different times of the day. Systems should be put in place to constantly plan the delivery of new orders by merging with other orders that are destined for the same delivery areas. Sending the new order along with the older orders maximizes the use of available resources. This requires that highly-developed algorithms be put in place.
Such algorithms calculate effective delivery sequences and estimate the duration of the journey. This way the company will be sure to offer a consistent and reliable service for customers.
- Communicate regularly
Customers should receive regular updates via email or SMS telling them about the progress of their order. The customer should also receive automated notifications upon delivery.
Doing this greatly increases customer confidence in last-mile delivery services.
- Track orders
Order tracking improves end-to-end visibility and helps users to see that all components are progressing in a timely manner.
- Use proof of delivery
EPOD (Electronic Proof Of Delivery) is a requirement for satisfactorily completing the order delivery process. Most of the time, customers are supposed to give their signatures.
Established e-commerce giants like Amazon are already adopting the last-mile delivery function. Small and mid-sized companies aren’t being left behind. Everybody wants to take advantage of this growing yet often-underappreciated market as customers demand faster and better services.