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7 Ways to Get More Value Out of Last Mile Delivery Solutions

Businesses with last mile delivery operations have to deal with increasing customer demands, adverse economic conditions, driver shortages, and so on. To overcome these challenges, you need to manage final mile operations diligently. And that's before you factor customer experience, delivery efficiency, cost, fleet productivity, driver performance, and more. It’s a tall order!

last mile delivery solutions

Simply put, ensuring exceptional last mile delivery services while controlling costs requires a careful evaluation of your last mile delivery processes. To help make that happen, we’ll sketch out some of the best practices involving last mile delivery logistics solutions. This will include ways to eliminate operational inefficiencies, gain both new and repeat customers, and ultimately maintain a competitive advantage.

Best Practices for Last Mile Delivery Logistics Solutions

Below are some best practices to help you transform last mile delivery operations:

1. Choose the right last mile solution

The best final mile strategies involve the use of technologies such as telematics, mobile devices, advanced route optimization, and data analytics. Thus, the first step in transforming your last mile delivery operations is to invest in advanced last mile delivery logistics solutions. 

Advanced last mile delivery solutions are crucial for elevating the customer delivery experience and improving your bottom line. The right solution should help you automate processes and gather intelligent data to enable you to make data-driven decisions.

Of course, choosing the right solution can be easier said than done. Often, companies will rely on legacy software solutions that don't get the job done anymore. Or, they'll focus their search for a solution too narrowly, e.g. searching for software that only handles routing.

In point of fact, one of the keys to getting the most out of your logistics software is to prioritize finding a solution that can handle the entire last mile from end to end. Rather than leveraging one solution for each element of the last mile delivery journey, seek out a solution that's truly comprehensive.

What does that look like in practice? It looks like covering the entire process from order creation to proof of delivery. In between, it should handle routing, dispatching, customer experience, and visibility.

By combining the entire journey into a single solution, you do a lot more than just streamline your IT. You actually improve coordination between different aspects of the delivery logistics process. When your solutions are disconnected, there's a risk of data silos, and information can be slow to move between functions. With an all-in-one-solution, you have the information you need at your fingertips throughout the entire process.

2. Put a well-crafted plan in place

Final mile delivery technologies and strategies have changed significantly over the last few years. Capabilities that used to be considered best in class are now embedded in every business operation. That’s why it’s so important to review your current strategies and craft new plans to meet today's market conditions.

Crafting a bold (yet achievable) plan begins with asking yourself a few questions:

  1. What are competitors doing that gives them an advantage?
  2. How can we reconfigure delivery and supply chain operations to add value for our customers?
  3. How do other industries use last mile operations to become more competitive and enable faster deliveries?

Asking these questions will allow you to plan out how to best boost efficiency and improve your fleet's productivity.

3. Strive for streamlined processes and automation

Transforming last mile delivery operations requires ditching conventional ways of doing things that are not only time-consuming, but wasteful. 

One of the main sources of inefficiencies among fleets is manual route planning. After all, human route planners do not have the same computing powers as route planning solutions. Even legacy route planning solution can problematic from this perspective. Solutions that are hard to use or take forever to run wind up increasing your back-office costs and slowing down other processes.

Route planning is as much a science as it is an art. It requires careful data analysis that can account for multiple factors affecting delivery times. If you can introduce automation into the process, you can save time and improve performance. Ideally, you'll be able to find a solution that can create routes for hundreds of trucks in seconds without requiring a lot of manual input.

This applies to nearly every touchpoint in last mile logistics. The key to cutting out inefficiencies in final mile operations is to standardize and automate. This is why last mile delivery logistics solutions usually strive to automate processes, including route planning and dispatching, customer communication, reporting, and more. 

4. Leverage data analytics

Last-mile solutions generate plenty of data. And a combination of data and advanced analytics technology can yield a deeper and wider view of the delivery operations. Analytics empower fleet operators and managers to identify trends, areas for improvement, and opportunities.

Of course, the value here is intimately tied up with your ability to identify the right metrics to track. Traditional logistics measurements like on-time and full delivery and costs are valuable. But they can be even more valuable if you combine them with other KPIs like voice of the customer, cost per case, cost per delivery, labor costs, and more. 

5. Empower your drivers

Drivers play a starring role in last mile delivery operations. After all, they execute some of the most crucial elements of the fulfillment process. That’s why it’s so important to give them the tools they need to do their jobs. That means providing optimal routes with realistic ETAs, enabling them to capture photo proof of delivery, and giving them the tools to communicate with customers.

The right last mile logistics solution should have automated dispatching features and real-time last mile delivery tracking capabilities. This allows fleet managers and dispatchers to track drivers in real-time. Driver mobile apps empower drivers to stick to the delivery times and route plans to maximize their productivity.

6. Improve customer management

Consumer behavior is also a crucial element in last mile delivery performance. Customers, after all, more or less determine delivery success. That’s why you need to make sure they're prepared to receive their orders when the driver arrives. 

Leading last mile delivery operations provide their customers with real-time notifications with an expected time of arrival (ETA). This ensures that they’re prepared to receive packages to cut down delivery delays and failed deliveries.

More than that, those with the right technology actually offer real-time visibility to customers. Through a real-time tracking portal, customers can visualize exactly where their orders are and exactly when they’re projected to arrive on the day of delivery. 

This elevates the customer delivery experience significantly. How? By reducing customers’ anxiety and increasing their feeling of control and empowerment over the delivery process. Not only does this help reduce not-at-homes, it also decreases where’s-my-order calls and boosts customer satisfaction. 

7. Ensure continuous improvement

Logistics companies that implement a new solution has to go through a learning curve with their last mile delivery software. That’s why you need to ensure that you have a team responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of the software's implementation and spotting ways to further improve last mile delivery operations with the help of the solution. Here, it helps to adopt a solution that’s intuitive and easy to use. 

In the end, today's competitive marketplace requires businesses to take a hard look at their current operations. Those with last mile deliveries must carefully assess their workflows, make the right investment in last mile delivery logistics solutions, and follow best practices for their usage. This way, you can ensure long-term growth despite increasing customer demands, mounting operational challenges, and increased competition.

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