5 Minute Read
5 Minute Read

How Can Technology Benefit Logistics in the Last Mile?

Written By DispatchTrack | Mar 26, 2021
Share this article

The last mile delivery landscape is not what it used to be. Technology has made it so companies can become leaner, more agile, and better equipped to meet the increasing customer demands. Of course, some fleet operators are adapting to the changing last mile delivery landscape, embracing technological solutions faster than others. These operators are now reaping the benefits of improved last mile efficiency while their competitors may be struggling to keep up.

How can technology benefit logistics?

But what exactly are these technological changes that are impacting the final mile of the supply chain, and how are they impacting delivery operations? 

How Technology Benefits Last Mile Logistics

Technological solutions are reshaping last mile deliveries significantly—much to the benefit of fleet operators, carriers, and anyone else who grapples with the complexities of getting goods from a distribution center to the end customer. If you’re wondering how technology can benefit logistics, these are just some of the ways that new solutions can help those engaged in last mile delivery operations:

Last mile visibility white paper

Efficient Route Planning

Manual planning is a time-consuming and tedious job. Driver schedule, vehicle load capacity, traffic congestion, driver proximity, road conditions, and parking availability are just some of the many elements that have to be considered in finding the most optimal routes. Human planners simply can’t sift through all of the possible permutations quickly enough to find the shortest path that meets requirements—and assign accurate ETAs to all those stops. 

Luckily, the right route planning system can help fleets plan their logistics more efficiently and ensure that packages can be delivered on time. Make sure you seek out software that accounts for the unique factors impacting truck drive time—otherwise you’ll be stuck with efficient routes with inaccurate ETAs.

Improved Order Timeliness and Accuracy

Last mile technological solutions are of great help in improving order timeliness and accuracy.

Rapid delivery is only feasible when businesses pay close attention to each step of the order fulfillment process. Quick fulfillment and effective driver assignments are crucial in preparing orders for fast deliveries.

Here, an automated dispatching tool can be beneficial, both in reducing both labor costs and decreasing service times. Fleet managers can set parameters so that the auto-dispatch tool will assign the right drivers to specific orders automatically. 

Real-Time Visibility

Efficient delivery service is now the new brand differentiator. Price and product were once what separated good brands from others, but consumer preferences have changed all that. Consumers these days don't just demand fast and reliable deliveries—they also want the ability to track their orders anytime, anywhere.

Last mile solutions that offer integrated communication capabilities and real-time location tracking are offering businesses and customers alike more visibility on orders on the day of delivery. Consumers no longer have to call the customer service team to know where their orders are: they can track the status on their own. They can also communicate with drivers directly, thanks to two-way communication features.

Last mile solutions also offer automatic status updates such that customers are kept in the loop on delivery updates. Automatic alerts via SMS combined with real-time tracking helps businesses reduce missed or failed deliveries and even theft of packages left at customer's doorsteps. 

Some delivery applications can also alert drivers when the customer is available to sign for their packages. Customers can also provide instructions to drivers to leave the package at an alternative drop-off point.

In this way, real-time visibility provides businesses with more cost-savings and better control of the delivery experience. Reducing missed deliveries, for example, also reduces fuel costs and labor expenses associated with multiple delivery attempts.

two minute guide to last mile visibility

Improved Driver Safety

Telematics systems, which connect remote applications to a centralized system, go a long way in keeping drivers safe while on the road. When combined with GPS, telematics helps fleet managers track driver behavior in real-time. Fleet managers can gain better visibility on drivers' unsafe driving behaviors such as sudden lane changes, speeding, harsh braking, and more. 

Managers can immediately spot any bad driving practices and contact the driver to understand and remedy the situation. Telematics also helps fleet managers come up with customized training modules to correct unsafe driving habits.

Data-Based Decision Making

Businesses often face challenges when implementing last mile solutions. But modern analytics can help. How? By collecting historical data for analysis and helping to inform executives on how to best allocate logistics resources or on what customers are most likely to buy.

Good analysis also provides insights on every stage of the logistics process including inventory allocation per warehouse and sourcing shipping containers, to name a few. This is, of course, closely related to data visibility—if you don’t have accurate data flows moving at a decent velocity, it’ll be difficult to get the reporting you need to understand what went well and what didn’t across your last mile deliveries. 

Some solutions offer analytics dashboards that can evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs) such as distance traveled, on-time rates, consumer feedback scores, and the number of successful deliveries. Reviewing KPIs can help you identify weaknesses so that they can be addressed quickly.

Hybrid Fleet Systems

Many businesses are still using the traditional business model where they own and operate their fleets. This model offers full control of the last mile process but doesn't provide business much flexibility.

On the other hand, a hybrid fleet model allows for the combination of a company's own fleet, freelance drivers, contractors, and third-party partners. This combination provides businesses with more flexibility, especially when there are demand fluctuations. Centralized hybrid fleet management solutions offer companies better control of their operations and more flexibility, e.g. via a control tower that integrates real-time data from various sources to optimize supply chain operations.

Leveraging technology helps companies navigate the complexities of last mile logistics. Reducing costs, increasing agility, and improving efficiency are just some of the benefits businesses can enjoy when they employ the right solutions in their last mile operations.

DispatchTrack offers the most powerful end-to-end suite of tools for last mile logistics operators. Dispatchers, drivers, customers and clients can access our app on any device to schedule, track, modify and verify your deliveries.

See how DispatchTrack can optimize your operation

Explore DispatchTrack

Product Offerings →

A tool for every job. Be it routing, billing, or customer management, we can help your business be better.

Calculate Your ROI →

Most of our clients see ROI the first 30 days. See what you could save.

Meet The Team →

What does it take to make a team work? Leadership, experience, and a unified vision of where the company is headed.

See DispatchTrack's Last Mile Optimization Capabilities in Action

6 Logistics Optimization Best Practices for Managing Costs

Apr 21, 2021

Last mile logistics account for around 41 percent of the total operating costs of the supply chain and 53 percent of overall cost...

Case Study: How a Golf Cart Specialist Reduced Phone Time Through Last Mile Optimization

Mar 11, 2021

Prestige Golf Cars in Murrieta, California strives to provide an experience that’s about more than just golf carts. Yes, you can...

3 Key Areas for Automation in Last Mile Logistics

Jul 8, 2021

This article was originally published in PARCEL on June 3rd, 2021. Check out the original article here.

As parcel delivery...

Learn More About DispatchTrack

DispatchTrack offers shippers a feature-rich platform designed to boost last-mile visibility and help delight customers

Screenshots of DispatchTrack's software and mobile app