The state of logistics continues to sway, and disruption is on the minds of everyone. Rather than taking more time to focus on the bad, it is imperative for shippers to approach disruption from another perspective, such as the last mile adoption of technology and how new forces in the market can improve last mile logistics. In fact, shippers need to rethink their perception of disruptors and start looking for ways to take advantage of new technologies in logistics and services that lower costs and improve transparency in shipping.
Disruptors Aren’t Always Bad
It’s easy to assume disruptors always fall under the adverse event category. However, disruptors may have a positive impact on the industry. For instance, the Uberization of trucking represents a disruptor that allows companies to tap the gig economy. Other examples include the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) transportation management systems (TMS). Such systems provide immediate relief to top concerns for logistics professionals and C-Suite executives, including lower costs, increased visibility, and a collaborative infrastructure. So, with the fact that disruptors simply imply a diversion from traditional approaches to supply chain management, any new technology or service can be labeled a disruptor and driving force in last mile adoption of technology.
Final Mile Management: A Shipper’s 30,000 Foot View
What Are the Top Disruptors Affecting Last Mile Adoption of Technology
Diversity in the market disrupted traditional logistics ecosystems. Instead of simply moving freight from manufacturer to reseller, freight now moves in virtually every direction and all possible destinations. In turn, last mile adoption of new technology represents the greatest disruptor of all. However, shippers must understand the various forms of technology that may impact logistics efficiency. As explained by Forbes, these include:
- A connected TMS that relies on real-time data to provide end-to-end visibility. A connected TMS propels business functions and transforms freight management into a turnkey function.
- Collaborative platforms that enable sharing of data and better load planning. Data sharing also helps to prevent data silos and ensure improvements increase profitability and do not result in hidden charges or costs.
- Digital freight matching allows companies to request freight quotes instantly and without added costs. Digital freight matching is applicable to freight brokers, freight forwarders, individual shippers, and more.
- Access to trucker profiles and availability schedules from an overarching platform increase planning accuracy. More transparency with drivers and accommodation of driver schedules builds rapport and makes freight more attractive to smaller, owner-operator carriers.
- Advanced analytics give customers and companies insight into purchasing habits, market activity, and demand planning. The whole suite of analytics, ranging from descriptive through prescriptive analytics, enables actionable insights, powering efficiency, collaboration, and visibility into operations.
- Automated sort and retrieval systems, as well as those like systems used to load and unload trucks with robotics, that streamline logistics. The goal is simple, load trucks faster to lower time to delivery. In fact, customers expect faster final delivery with added services.
- Automated alerts and real-time last mile route optimization save money and build better service. For example, UPS found that “a reduction of just one driver mile a day can save up to $50 million annually (UPS has about 66,000 drivers on the road every day). These disruptive technologies could transform the traditional shipping market by delivering products faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than ever before—potentially leading to significant growth in retailer revenue.”
How to Embrace Last Mile Adoption of Technology-Driven Disruptors
The world is changing in response to the economy, politics, public health needs, and international trade regulations. Meanwhile, customers continue to push the advancement of e-commerce, and they now expect to have the ability to buy anything online. Unfortunately, retailers still struggle with fulfilling on the promises, and staying competitive with Amazon and Walmart is overwhelming at best. As a result, shippers and C-Suite executives need to embrace last mile adoption of technology to stand out from the crowd and deliver on better service. These steps can help make that possible:
- Connect your supply chain with IoT-enabled sensors, as well as telematics systems to track driver location and more. Sensors enable better visibility and help solve the problems surrounding visibility in the final leg of shipping.
- Take advantage of crowdsourcing drivers. Services, explains Retail Dive, like UberRUSH, Deliv, and Task Rabbit, can help shippers access more drivers for local areas and avoid the hassle of managing an internal fleet.
- Stay forward-thinking, considering the launch of new delivery services that are more than just-leave-on-porch, such as white glove services.
- Use omnichannel buy online and pick up in store fulfillment models to reduce demand for last mile delivery from an actual truck.
- Work with a third-party logistics provider (3PL), such as Cerasis, that has the experience in developing and implementing new technologies that excel in the last mile.
- Work with staff to address new concerns over last mile adoption of technology, helping to build out company value and reduce strain on resources.
Gain End-to-End Transparency With Cerasis
Freight costs are among the highest expenditures for most companies, exceeded only by labor costs and possibly facility costs. Unfortunately, last mile logistics have remained largely problematic and lacking in visibility. However, through the application of technology, shippers can finally achieve more visibility in the last mile, provide real-time location data to customers, and better manage costs. Cerasis has that technology and is consistently looking for ways to help shippers build a better shipping mousetrap.