last-mile-deliveries

ECommerce and delivery giants like Amazon, DHL, Fed Ex etc., are all focused on developing future technology and AI for their fulfillment units. Every day there is news of Amazon trying drones technology for making local deliveries or Fed Ex’s autonomous robots on the road. Time is not too far when we will see all this happen around small towns and cities, but what is of more concern are the delivery and fulfillment processes for most of small, medium and large enterprises.

Keeping businesses relevant and meeting customers’ needs are still the biggest challenges faced by most of the eCommerce and fulfillment companies. Thanks to the “Amazon-ization”, customers are more aware now, as well as they demand nothing less than timely delivery with minimum to no cost attached to it.

PwC conducted a Global Consumer Insights Survey, according which 25% of the survey participants expect their purchase to be at their door step, the very next day. Same day delivery was preferred by 10% of the participants out of which 41% were willing to pay extra charges for the expedited deliveries.  This survey sets a very clear picture of where the market trend is moving.

There is a whole lot of process which goes in to making the same day or the next day deliveries possible. From sorting to pick and pack, to scheduling the deliveries, assigning the deliveries to the trusted 3 PL partner (in case the deliveries are outsourced), making sure all the deliveries were picked up at the scheduled time and dropped off at the customer preferred time. In the absence of an end-to-end automated system, any manual interaction or data entering will not only hamper the operations but will obstruct the long term growth.

The missing link?

Most of the eCommerce, retail suppliers, fulfillment centers etc., are equipped with WMS, which is pretty standard. What is often missing in the last-mile chain, is the Delivery and Logistics management software a.k.a DMS or LMS. When the delivery schedules move to paper sheets, and the drivers are on their own to figure out the addresses and find the best route to reach the customers, and most of all, back office is completely out of picture of what is happening in the field, that’s when the real problem starts to propagate. Customer satisfaction tops all, but in absence of any kind of visibility, how would that be even possible?

Tech savvy eCommerce businesses and retailers have started to deploy Delivery Management Software in order to have seamless dispatch to the preferred 3 PL partners, track the deliveries and receive instant proof of delivery notification once the package is with the customer.

Another major benefit to use a Delivery management software is accurate customer data, which in turn helps businesses with some very key insights about, customers preferred products, the busiest time of the year, month, week and a day, and most of all delivery cost analysis. All of these insights fuel future business growth and planning.

Last Mile deliveries, Same day deliveries and next day deliveries all require some major restructuring on the part of the local businesses. Until these immediate challenges are addressed, no drone or robotics will make any sense for the local businesses in the future.