More carriers and logistics providers have entered the final mile logistics space to help companies meet customer expectations. According to Transport Topics, the area of white-glove services, focusing on products that require delivery and set up in the home of vast or intricate products, is rapidly becoming central to effective final mile strategies. In fact, a 2018 study found that the prevalence of customers’ purchasing furniture online rose by 24% to 57% since 2012. Those buying large appliances increased online purchases even faster in the same time frame, rising 28%.
Unfortunately, the management of uncomplicated deliveries, in-home setup, removal of old appliances, changing the delivery location to include third-party areas and other factors contributed to a significant change in supply chain complexity. Now, shippers must consider different carriers, new servicers, and even after-delivery set up in the planning. However, using a practical final mile and TMS function can solve the challenges and meet demands.
The rising complexity of supply chain management led many carriers and shippers to invest in both internal and external systems. Now, using multiple systems can improve efficiency, but it also opens the door to risk, primarily when the systems are used to manage different over-the-road (OTR) modes. An argument can be made that the final mile is the most critical aspect of logistics. Unfortunately, using multiple systems also leads to the development and risk of these significant problems:
Collaboration throughout the supply chain, including both LTL and final mile carriers, will become a necessity. Even Amazon has taken the streets by storm with new final mile processes, eliminating its contract with FedEx in favor of white-label, smaller final mile delivery vehicles (think of the proliferation of those Grey Mercedes delivery vans with the seemingly ever-present Amazon smile log on the side). This move increases the sustainability of Amazon’s supply chain network, and as the company grows, an expanding delivery and pickup architecture, such as Amazon Lockers, will allow for more final mile delivery options for customers. The only way to handle both residential delivery and delivery to third-party pickup locations lies within using a single portal to manage the process from initial booking via an LTL carrier through final mile, regardless of where that mile ends.
Some key benefits of using a single, centralized portal for the final mile and TMS capability include:
An effective shipping strategy must focus on two fundamentals, a dedicated final mile and TMS that combines all shipment processes into a single portal. Access to more information within the same system saves click-time by giving shippers a one-stop means of managing end-to-end logistics. A dedicated TMS can complete LTL tenders for the first leg, send products to a fulfillment center for the second leg and still get products to the customers via a third and final mile leg. Any variation is possible, and the TMS must be able to handle them all.
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