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Why Shipment Visibility Is Key to Last Mile Success

Consumers now demand that brands provide them with outstanding delivery experiences. They're no longer happy with delayed or slow shipments. They even want the ability to track their packages in real-time. 

Shipment visibility

Shipment visibility is more than just a buzzword in the industry these days. Companies face mounting pressure to offer real-time information on goods for delivery at any given time. And a lack of visibility on shipments can be a deal-breaker for many clients nowadays.

Plus, lacking the ability to track fleets in real-time makes last mile deliveries more challenging and costly. Luckily, there are ways to improve shipment visibility and gain a competitive advantage in last mile supply chain management. 

What Are the Top Challenges in Last Mile Delivery?

High costs

Last mile deliveries account for more than 50 percent of overall shipping costs. It is both time consuming and an expensive part of the shipping process. Cutting down both time and expenses in this final stage can result in big cost savings. 

Customer demands

Like we mentioned above, consumers these days want to receive their orders fast and track their orders in real-time. Failing to meet these customer demands can be a real issue, since delivery experience is now a big part of your brand. Customers who are dissatisfied with the shipping options or delivery experience will be quick to take their business to a competitor.

Lack of data

It's hard for any company to spot opportunities for improvement when there is no reliable data regarding deliveries. This can make it difficult or impossible to get costs under control. 

Operational inefficiencies

The last mile is inefficient by definition. Setting the shortest route in a way that takes into account driver skill level, differences in service times, customer tiers, etc. is incredibly difficult—which means that delivery and logistics operations often can't fully utilize their capacity. This underlying lack of efficiency makes it difficult to adapt flexibly and efficiently to changing circumstances. 

What Are the Benefits of Improving Shipment Visibility?

Improving visibility on deliveries is increasingly a prerequisite in gaining a stronger brand following, beating the competition, and lowering operating costs. The right delivery optimization and tracking system can make a huge difference by offering a number of benefits:

Live tracking and monitoring

Providing real-time visibility to dispatchers allows them to see where each asset is at any given time and offer accurate expected times of arrival (ETAs) to customers. Real-time shipment visibility also helps the customer team to manage customer expectations regarding possible delays. Of course, accurate ETAs also depend on successful route optimization, but real exception management requires both. 

Better customer experience

Consumers want to know where their goods are at any given time. Providing them visibility on the shipment of orders satisfies this expectation.

Not only does this have the potential to impact your NPS (i.e. net promoter score—which can have a direct correlation with revenue), it also helps you decrease the odds of failed deliveries. Why? Because if the customer knows that their washing machine, medication, or food is just around the corner, they’re less likely to run out for an errand. 

Improved driver performance

Without telematics integration, fleet managers have historically had very little insight into drivers' performance on the road. But real-time tracking provides them a way of ensuring that drivers are being efficient, effective, and safe. This also empowers businesses to extend the lives of their fleets by monitoring behaviors that increase wear and tear. 

How to Improve Shipment Visibility

So, how do shippers actually achieve shipment visibility and start to enjoy some of these benefits? Here are a few ways:

1. Centralize your logistics data

Aggregated data from fleets or external carriers is hard to track. Having data spread among multiple silos also makes it less valuable. On the other hand, placing all data in a centralized location can help executives and fleet managers better understand the workings of their shipping and delivery processes.

2. Incorporate proof of delivery

Upgrading how employees capture proof of delivery goes a long way in improving shipment visibility end-to-end. Electronic proof of delivery also makes it easy for businesses to verify complaints of lost or damaged packages. In turn, this can speed up billing and settlement processes.

3. Monitor driver performance

Tracking key metrics such as service times, on-time rates, number of parcels delivered, customer feedback, and total distance traveled is necessary these days—both for ensuring regulatory compliance and setting accurate routes in the future. Keeping track of how drivers perform provides businesses with deeper insights so they can spot the problematic areas and improve them. 

4. Provide automated notifications

Live shipment tracking is just one way of improving supply chain visibility. Providing customers with automated notifications can also elevate the business' delivery services.

You can send automated notifications when the delivery has already started, when there are potential delays to the delivery, and when the driver is nearby. This effectively turns abstract visibility (i.e. real-time data) into something that directly improves customer service. Notifications might includes texts, emails, and even phone calls.  

5. Use the right dashboard

Having a dedicated dashboard for visibility provides fleet managers with the information they need to spot problems quickly and proactively resolve them. Again, siloized information is less valuable than information that’s right at your fingertips when you need it. If you can see potential exceptions at a glance just by logging onto your computer, you can confidently assess what’s going right—and what requires your immediate attention. 

Greater visibility on shipment statuses is more important than ever. The ability to track assets, orders, and drivers helps in meeting increasing customer demands, boosting efficiency, and cutting down costs. In the end, improving shipment visibility is key to helping businesses remain competitive.

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.

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