The final mile delivery market will climb to more than $55 billion by 2025, says MarketWatch, and if shippers wish to remain in front of consumers, they must enhance their use of final mile delivery strategies. Unfortunately, today’s final mile strategies have common problems that derive from the limited scans and visibility into that last leg of the journey. As major carriers, such as UPS, work to increase visibility in the final mile, shippers should follow these tips to improve strategies and offer better service to customers.
Customers expect options in today’s world, and the same principle applies to shippers operating in any omnichannel atmosphere. Having the option to get products delivered as soon as today is excellent, but some consumers may not necessarily need their products that quickly. That fact opens the door to immense improvements within the supply chain, allowing shippers to improve the efficiency of shipping, reducing costs, and boosting sustainability along the way. The same tactic has also been applied in the past by Amazon and big retailers, offering customers the option to have it sooner or even get a product at a lower price point by selecting a longer shipping timeline.
Speaking of sustainability, today’s consumers are incredibly eco-conscious. They expect a company is taking all necessary steps to improve sustainability and reduce harm to the environment. Unfortunately, the size of Amazon and its global footprint has made it almost impossible for typical shippers to compete within the same sustainability goals. Instead of simply winging it, shippers can educate consumers on the real impact of same-day service. When you think about it, few products require same-day delivery, and while urgent needs can be met if necessary, consumers that are informed are more likely to be willing to wait on delivery.
One thing is evident in the shipping industry. Route optimization is at the heart of all processes. Route optimization takes time, despite the claims of advanced analytics and new system capabilities. More time to optimize load planning processes, shipment tendering, and review carrier rates will amount to more affordable and less environmentally damaging shipments. Now, it is essential to note that all shippers must implement final mile delivery strategies that rely on continuous optimization of transport schedules. This is the only way to retain a semblance of sustainability and efficiency in all operations.
Modern systems generate a mountain of data, and this data holds value. When applied through advanced analytics platforms, data insights can unlock the path to faster shipping, recoup costs associated with invoicing errors and provide higher levels of customer service. Shippers that leverage analytics to understand their successes and failures within final mile delivery will see more success in final mile logistics. Furthermore, advanced platforms offer automated notifications in tracking capabilities, keeping consumers, and business to business partners informed of shipment progress.
Of course, automated notifications are only as good as the information the system receives, so more shippers are turning to technologies, including the Internet of Things and ELD-connected platforms to provide real-time data into the final mile shipping journey. This effectively creates a standard process for managing transparency in the final mile, and such standard processes can be proactively applied to improve forecasted demand and meet all final mile needs, notes MultiChannel Merchant.
Another factor critical to success in the final mile logistics management goes back to performance measurement. It is not enough to track the number of successful versus failed deliveries. Shippers need more information, including customer satisfaction with the delivery, timeliness of the delivery, potential delays in delivery, such as those arising from the need to set up an item, and more. Merely getting a delivery confirmation only provides one fraction of the whole picture, and shippers leave the information on the table, resulting in poor transparency and inefficient processes without it.
The latest-generation navigation tools might seem like a no-brainer in shipping, but the industrialization of society and new construction continues in every major city. In some areas, such as New Braunfels, Texas, final mile delivery is a nightmare. New developments in construction in traditionally wooded areas have left thousands of customers uncertain of if their products will arrive at all. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has the information at their fingertips, but UPS, FedEx, and DHL may not know that an address, which appears not to exist, is now the home of a new house. An acquaintance of mine recently put this to the test, sending three same-size, same-weight and same delivery expectation packages from an area in West Texas to New Braunfels. Each package was shipped via UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Without opening the door to liability, one carrier managed to get the package on time. Another delivered a day early, which might not be a problem, but no one was home to accept the package. The third carrier did not deliver the package until three days later, citing navigational difficulties as the reason. Clearly, the existing navigational resources of these companies need reevaluation now.
Final mile delivery strategies are everything, and consumers that do not receive satisfaction from any carrier will hold the shipper responsible. Shippers should follow the tips to improve their final mile delivery strategies and reduced costs at the same time.
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