September 10, 2019

Where The Trends Are Heading In Final Mile Delivery

With the rising popularity of same-day delivery services, final mile logistics management is blending with overall logistics management. This makes it more important than ever that retailers and suppliers can count on shippers and delivery services to provide excellent customer service. The shippers and carriers have become an intrinsic part of the team and contribute to the overall success of any online retailer.

Final mile logistics management is very much in the hands of the carriers. And that means these separate parts all need to work together in order to provide the best customer experience. That can be difficult when shippers assume that carriers have the same priorities as them, or when carriers feel like they’re being micromanaged by shippers. Instead, they need to use the available technology to help keep everyone on the same page about what’s happening in the last mile of the delivery process.

Fortunately new trends in the shipping industry are making data and communication about customer experience even more complicated.

Before you read on, I recommend reading the previous post, Last Mile Logistics and Customer Experience if you haven't already.

Where the trends are heading in final mile delivery

With the increased focus on customer experience, final mile delivery is no longer just a shipping process. And any business who continues to see it that way is missing an opportunity for increased revenue. In fact, in the future, businesses who don’t provide additional final mile services may lose out on business.

What kind of final mile services exactly? 

Delivery is evolving to include more “white glove” services, as in extra precautions to ensure the variety of items being delivered are cared for and delivered to the end-user in good working condition. Again, the best way to ensure that items are being properly transported and delivered intact is to use data logging technology.

Data loggers can detect changes in temperature, humidity, light, and even bumps. All of this can be recorded in order to improve final mile delivery results and decrease the chance of losses from damaged items.

Also, as mentioned earlier, more consumers are looking for items to be shipped, delivered, and then installed. This was a different matter when items were transported from a local store with local technicians. Online retailers have to find ways to provide the same kinds of services, despite their wider service area. 

Is it really necessary? Well, Amazon is already doing it, and they’re the business that sets the pace for final mile delivery expectations. Because so many consumers already use Amazon, any convenience they add to the shipping and delivery process becomes an expectation for consumers. They then require that service in order to feel they had a high-quality customer experience.

What this means for retailers, shippers, and carriers

Make no mistake, carrier differences in the final mile will be noticed. What people may not realise, however, is just how many small carriers exist. That means that these local and regional carriers have an opportunity to make new connections and provide superior service in this growing logistics field.

And the retailers and shippers will have plenty of options for who to work with in order to provide the best experience to their customers. Choosing a carrier to work with is becoming an extremely important business decision that can make or break an e-commerce company.

In addition to the number of small local and regional carriers, freelance and crowdsourced carriers are now becoming more popular and providing additional competition. These carriers are part of the gig economy, and they are certainly affecting final mile delivery. 

In fact, Amazon will hire pretty much anyone who can pass a background check, has a driver’s license, and is willing to use their own delivery vehicle. These freelance carriers enable Amazon to get packages out to consumers faster. 

Of course, for carriers, this also means that their clients are going to be looking for a lot more transparency and data regarding logistics, and last mile logistics in particular.

The best technology moving forward

Any business with a stake in the supply chain stands to benefit from knowing what technology is available for improving last mile logistics. Companies used to use labor-intensive forms of data collection. But with consumers having higher and higher expectations for delivery speed and quality, carriers can’t afford to waste time with outdated methods.

Instead, more opportunities are going to go to carriers that utilise logistics management systems that allow real-time data tracking that can be uploaded to the cloud and shared with their partners in the supply chain.

Additionally, the platform needs to be able to send that data to the consumer in an appropriate manner. After all, it is the customer experience at the end of the journey that is the true measure of final mile success.

Service industries are already utilising technology that provides near real-time updates to end-users. Think of DoorDash, for instance. After ordering, consumers can see when the driver is headed to the restaurant, when they have picked up the food, and when they are en route to the consumer’s location.

Of course, the product supply chain is a bit more complicated and will require more intricate use of the available data. But you can bet that Amazon is already working on ways to make customer updates better.

Carriers who are looking for logistics management partners should keep an eye on the technology and trends, and select partners who will be able to keep pace with the evolving logistics practices. Think about those freelance Amazon workers mentioned above. They take photos of delivered products and send them to Amazon’s logistics platform in order to log data and improve final mile delivery experience for customers, as well as protecting Amazon against fraudulent claims of lost or damaged merchandise.

Data collection and analysis is serious business, and Logmore is the data logger at the forefront of these changes.