The rapid adoption of technological solutions, increased competition, the rise of the on-demand economy, and high consumer expectations are putting more pressure than ever on companies with delivery logistics operations. It's not enough to get orders from retailers to end consumers in an opaque way, and companies can no longer afford to offer limited delivery options and static tracking numbers for packages. Fast, efficient, transparent, and reliable last mile operations are what matters these days.
As customers demand rapid turnarounds for scheduled deliveries, delivery logistics has become a primary brand differentiator among competitors. That’s why, increasingly, last mile visibility can make or break a business. Without it, you’ll wind up delivering packages to unavailable customers, receiving more calls inquiring about delivery statuses, and being clueless if the order has been fulfilled.
To put it bluntly, increasing visibility in delivery logistics is crucial for businesses that want to take advantage of the booming e-commerce market. Here's a quick rundown of why last mile visibility matters:
The Importance of Last Mile Visibility in Delivery Logistics
Lack of visibility in the last mile has many downsides. In contrast, real-time tracking of fleets can provide your business with a number of benefits:
Better exception management: When you know what’s happening on the day of delivery, you can take control of your operations more effectively. You can be confident of all the things that are going right, and then turn your focus to proactively managing anything that isn’t. This puts you in a position to call the customer before there’s a problem. Without true visibility into your delivery logistics, this is virtually impossible to do—and the result is disgruntled customers calling in to overworked customer service reps who have to sift through mountains of irrelevant information before finding any useful details. In short, last mile visibility gives you the opportunity to avoid disruptions and ultimately boost efficiency across your delivery logistics.
More accurate ETAs: Modern Last mile visibility tools run on machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive intelligence, providing fleet managers and customers with more accurate expected time of arrivals (ETAs) that update over the course of the day. The right tools can predict whether the delivery will be early, on-time, or delayed—all based on real-time driver status updates at every touchpoint along the route. This allows fleet managers to make the necessary steps to keep customers in the loop and delivery logistics on track.
Faster deliveries: Not only are your ETAs more accurate when you’re able to update them throughout the day—your deliveries are faster as well. How is that possible? Simply put, when you know your drivers’ statuses in real time, you can proactively help them to avoid disruptions. You can adjust routes on the fly to avoid customers who know they won’t be home, to skirt around traffic disruptions, and more.
Increased fleet productivity: Faster deliveries translate to more deliveries per driver every day. Last mile visibility gives you the power to be proactive when it comes to optimizing operations, which naturally results in improved overall fleet productivity.
Reduced calls to the customer service team: It's not just the fleet managers that have visibility on the delivery team. You can also inform ahead of time should there be changes or delays in the original ETA. Some last mile solutions also allow customers to track their packages anywhere and anytime via a live tracking portal. All these reduce the need for customers to call the customer service team to ask for updates or complain about the status of the packages—which can save significant time and money in the long run.
Accommodation of last-minute changes: Real-time visibility across your entire fleet allows to more easily accommodate last-minute requests made by customers. If you can see how the last mile is unfolding at a glance from a single dashboard, you can more easily get an idea of what changes or updates it would be possible to make without causing disruptions.
Improved fleet safety: You never want drivers to wind up in unsafe conditions—but if you can’t see what your drivers are up to, how can you make sure they’re not driving into dangerous weather or other problematic conditions? Real-time visibility helps cut down the risks shouldered by the drivers and lets companies manage their last mile operations more safely. Plus, real-time tracking that’s integrated with telematics functionality enables fleet managers to identify and address unsafe driving behaviors.
More accurate monitoring of KPIs: Improving delivery logistics visibility also means empowering companies to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as ETA adherence, on-time in full deliveries, route efficiency, driver productivity, delivery failures, first attempt success rates, and so much more. Accurately monitoring KPIs empowers you to make more data-driven decisions. Businesses get to take a deeper dive into their processes, solve inefficiencies and ultimately improve overall fleet operations.
Higher customer satisfaction: Full last mile visibility helps satisfy customers' demand for fast, reliable, and transparent deliveries. Consumers demand efficient delivery logistics and greater insight into order statuses before and during the day of delivery. By prioritizing visibility, you make this possible and put yourself in a position to delight your customers.
Real-time visibility enables companies to provide real-time updates on the package's progress and allows customers to monitor their orders anytime and anywhere. Efficient last mile operations mean keeping customers in the loop at all times—which is virtually impossible when you don't know where your drivers are at any given moment.
Improved profitability: Improving fleet visibility means cutting down unnecessary costs and optimizing the time and use of company resources. Plus, higher customer satisfaction translates to more repeat business. Nearly all of the benefits we sketched out above can ultimately be leveraged into the one thing that’s most important for businesses large and small: more profitable operations.
Modern consumers’ demand for reliable, low-cost, and fast shipping—along with the need to be kept in the loop across the order fulfillment process—have forced businesses to prioritize real-time last mile visibility. Luckily, when you invest in visibility, you’re doing just that: making an investment in the health of your last mile operations.