Convenient and fast delivery is the name of the game in the industry. The trailblazing ways of industry leaders like Amazon and Walmart are forcing retailers and shippers alike to adopt omnichannel delivery and fulfillment for fast and reasonably-priced order fulfillment.
These days, retailers and shippers are relying heavily on their logistics, third-party logistics (3PLs), and carrier partners to meet customer expectations and offer new delivery models. New consumer demands also require businesses to ensure better delivery service levels, convenient pick-up, lower pricing, and greater visibility over the delivery process from their logistics and 3PL providers.
Meeting consumer demands via a fast and efficient order fulfillment process can cost retailers and shippers their profitability and long-term growth. After all, managing contractors to achieve both quicker delivery times and higher delivery volumes is no easy task.
Thus, logistics providers or 3PLs must work hard to provide more value to shippers and retailers. Last mile logistics companies must help their customers become competitive by doing more with less. Here’s how 3PL software helps.
Automation is Key
All enterprises want to have valuable insights on their last mile delivery operations, but their preferences tend to vary. Some would choose to get updates hourly and others every half an hour or every ten minutes. There’s also an option to get real-time updates. Businesses may also require their logistics or 3PL partners to input their data into the system or portal manually while others prefer to have a seamless integration of the systems.
All these, however, are inefficient, costly, and hard to scale.
Working with a third party can help a business increase its delivery volumes and expand geographic reach, but training external drivers and contractors is time-consuming. It also doesn’t help if contractors are still relying on manual ways of dispatching, planning, and doing other operational tasks.
Hence, every 3PL and logistics provider must utilize automation to improve their efficiency. Using a last mile delivery logistics solution that’s capable of speeding up and automating logistics processes will be beneficial both for the shipper and the logistics partner.
What to Look for in 3PL Software for Last Mile Delivery
The benefits of last mile delivery software for logistics providers or 3PLs can never be underscored. But companies must realize that not all solutions are created equal. Businesses should ensure that the software they choose can address the following points.
- Is it capable of automating driver management?
- Does it offer solutions that aid drivers in performing their jobs more efficiently?
- Does it provide automated visibility over middle mile product tracking and inventory?
- Will it allow consignees to fix their preferred delivery appointments?
- Does it provide accurate delivery windows according to the capability and availability of the fleet or driver?
- Does it offer accurate delivery windows based on the time needed for each stop in the drivers’ itinerary?
Evaluating the software against the above-mentioned parameters will help companies choose a solution that automates processes and drives better efficiency for both logistics providers and shippers.
The Benefits of a 3PL Automation Solution
Automating driver management allows businesses to make the most out of their contractor fleets. Here are the benefits of driver automation.
Synchronize with the warehouse
Efficient delivery services begin at the warehouse. Thus, businesses must sync the staging, delivery preparations, and other loading processes to reduce loading and unloading times. Drivers must be synchronized with the warehouse to eliminate waiting time for an available loading dock.
Doing so will let drivers deliver more in the same amount of time. Leveraging 3PL software’s automated tools for scanning of various orders will also make the loading processes much quicker.
Optimize driver planning
Automating driver scheduling, planning, and dispatch software lets businesses plan and dispatch orders to drivers strategically. Any driver management solution must factor in regulatory requirements such as driver breaks in the dispatching and routing.
Similarly, automation also helps third-parties manage their fleets effectively. Solutions that offer greater visibility into the fleets’ performance help logistics providers manage the allocation of drivers and driver shifts better.
Boost driver retention
Driver retention has always been a major problem for the industry. An automated driver and logistics solution supports the customer service, drivers, and dispatcher teams and helps them do their jobs more efficiently, which in turn aids in driver retention.
Logistics providers must always ask themselves if they are providing operational flexibility needed by their customers. Is there a seamless integration of systems with the shippers? Are you offering them synced information in real-time? Are you meeting the delivery time and offering shorter delivery windows? These are the questions 3PLs and contractors must ask themselves.
In the end, logistics providers have more to offer to shippers or retailers if they can adapt to their clients’ changing needs. Fortunately, 3PL software lets logistics companies do more for their customers.