Last-Mile Delivery is the most important link of the supply chain, yet it has the most challenges. It is crucial to not only know the challenges that you might be faced with in the last part of the delivery process but to also have solutions to improve those challenges.
What is Last-Mile Delivery?
Last-Mile Delivery is the movement of goods from a transportation hub to a final delivery destination which is usually the customer’s personal residence. It aims to deliver these goods in the fastest time possible. In the time of online shopping, it has become a huge part of the shopping experience.
Last-Mile Problems And Their Solutions
When customers shop online they require items to be delivered to them in the fastest time possible and sometimes for free. This is also why it is the most expensive part of delivery logistics. It is necessary to be aware of the problems that you might be faced with and know how to address them. Some of the problems include:
Late or missed deliveries
Customers have become less tolerant with deliveries and late deliveries are deemed as serious issues. In most instances the reasons for these delays could be out of your control such as road closures or traffic. There needs to be a strong emphasis on ensuring timely deliveries in order to keep customers happy.
To deal with late orders, companies need to be completely transparent with the customer if there are any delays with the delivery. Taking accountability and communicating with customers beforehand will keep them calm and satisfied. It will also allow them to make changes to their schedule instead of waiting impatiently. Missed deliveries are also pretty common and in order to resolve this issue businesses should give the customer the power to choose a delivery window that suits them the best. This will ensure that they will be present when their order is delivered.
Lack of transparency
From the time a customer places an order to when they receive it, they require full transparency. Not communicating and lacking transparency will leave them displeased as they want to be involved throughout the process. Poor communication will also create problems that the customer will blame you for in the end. For example, if they enter the wrong address and you don’t give them the opportunity to rectify it, there is a possibility that you will send their order to the wrong address.
You should communicate with customers throughout the delivery process by offering them regular notifications about their orders. This communication should begin from the point of purchasing until their package reaches their destination. It will be able to reduce the number of calls that a customer makes to the customer service teams enquiring about the status of their order. Customers should also be able to track their orders online from the time the delivery is placed. They should be offered tracking numbers to track their orders in real time which will tell them which city their package is and what time it got dispatched for delivery.
High Cost of Delivery
Last-mile delivery is extremely expensive as you have to factor in costs such as warehousing, fuel, vehicle maintenance and labour costs. Drivers also need to make multiple packages in an hour to keep the business growing and there are factors that might restrict them from meeting those targets. They might also be making those deliveries in different locations and use different roads, which means more money is spent on fuel.
In order to lower costs associated with last-mile then there needs to be proper planning. For instance, you can plan the placement of goods in a warehouse in order to have a more efficient workflow. Secondly, you make use of route planning which will ensure that drivers make use of the most efficient routes as much as possible. Route planning algorithms can predict delivery time windows, vehicle capacity and driver speed. Using these factors, they can implement a route solution that reduces driving time and in turn the amount of fuel spent.
Competitive Delivery Costs
Though last-mile delivery is expensive for the business, there is a need to keep the delivery service affordable. The cost of the delivery service will influence the customer’s decision to either make or abandon the purchase. For this reason, businesses need to ensure that the cost of delivery is not only affordable, but that it is also competitive enough to attract more customers.
To offer customers the most affordable delivery cost, they can make use of third-party shipping. This option is the most popular alternative as businesses offer a flat shipping charge to their customers. It allows them to outsource delivery which means that they don’t have to hire delivery workers and they can focus on their main delivery offering.
False delivery Claims
You might have delivered the customer with their order, but they might claim that they never received it. The reality is that you will encounter dishonest customers who make false claims about a number of issues such as delays or even defects, even if you are not at fault and everything was done right on your part. These issues could escalate and lead to them posting on false reviews which could negatively affect your brand image and customer loyalty.
Proof of delivery is important for last-mile delivery as it assists with dealing with dishonest customers. Once a customer signs off for a package and that they not only received it on time, but in good condition they become accountable. It prevents them from wrongly accusing you and making false claims. This can be done through photographs, notes and signatures and it saves time, effort and most importantly your reputation.
By anticipating problems that you might experience with last-mile delivery you are able to have strategies in place which will ensure that you offer excellent service levels to your customers.