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What Is Last Mile Carrier Tracking?

Technology is advancing so quickly that our language to describe and explain it accurately is struggling to keep pace. As an example, we're still only using one term—last mile tracking—to represent two entirely different processes.

Last mile carrier tracking: what is it, how does it work, and FAQs

In this post, we’ll discuss the two distinct things that we mean by last mile carrier tracking. First: tracking deliveries internally to ensure that everything is running smoothly. And second: tracking deliveries as a customer.

Both are of paramount importance to successful deliveries in the modern era of volatile demand and supply chain disruption. But each one has its distinct implications and challenges. 

Last Mile Carrier Tracking from the Customer's Perspective

Consumers have more information than ever before to help them make choices with regard to their purchases. Increasingly, consumers approach deliveries the same way. Companies need to provide a stellar delivery experience that will resonate with customers and keep them coming back.

Lyft, DoorDash, and Uber changed the entire game, and consumer expectations will never be the same. They now expect clear communication and real-time information funneled to them about orders.

Typically, they want to track packages in real time. They want to see a truck icon on a map showing them exactly where the driver is. And they want a delivery ETA updated in real time.

Ideally, they can do this simply by entering a tracking number into a widget on your site. From there, you can give access to a dedicated customer order tracking portal. You can also offer access via email or other delivery communications.

They also want to be able to communicate with their fulfillment service providers and have the opportunity to rate their experience. And these expectations aren't exclusive to eCommerce and brick-and-mortar retail buyers. Everyone from end consumers to other businesses is going to have expectations that are similar.

Real-time last mile tracking for customers provides the ultimate delivery visibility, plus a sense of control they've come to expect. Any operation that provides scheduled deliveries can reap the rewards of giving recipients last mile tracking in this way.

For starters, here are a few core requirements for empowering customers to track their goods across the last mile delivery process:

  1. SMS and email notification the morning of delivery (and even the day before the delivery date)
  2. Capability to easily communicate with the driver
  3. Delivery tracking functionality for real-time ETAs via a dedicated customer portal
  4. Opportunity to rate the delivery and follow up if needed. 

As technology gets more and more connected, businesses will need to follow suit. This means making visibility for customers a priority across the board.

Tracking the Last Mile Internally

The other side of the last mile carrier tracking coin is this: tracking internally. In this rapidly evolving technology landscape, it takes more than improving customer-facing tools and services to stay competitive. Organizations need to take inventory of their internal operations to avoid= blind spots in their supply chain. This is especially important during the last mile.

The most important catalyst for lasting success, according to professional logistics operators, is visibility. Internal track and trace capabilities are critical here. These components can help with building a supply chain that can improve customer experience and exceed customer expectations.

Visibility into last mile operations requires a wide range of technological and methodological improvements to your supply chain:

  • Order tracking once goods are on your trucks
  • A digital dashboard with real-time tracking of deliveries and service units
  • Chain of custody and proof of delivery tools (ideally integrated via mobile app)
  • A way to measure and understand customer satisfaction

This is a matter of more than just having excellent visibility. Last mile carrier tracking improves speed and increases profit margins by increasing efficiency. Ultimately, by gaining a full view of the last mile in this way, you can level up the service customers receive.

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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