(This article was first published in The Postal Industry Innovation & Markets newsletter, volume 7, issue 1, 2019.)
Think of a situation where your customer is impatiently waiting to receive an expensive watch which she ordered three days back. But due to your business’s inability to provide delivery visibility, she has no clue where her watch is, who will be delivering it, if there are delays and so on. It’s an emotional trauma for your customer that can be easily avoided.
To make customers trust your services, it’s important to provide them with real-time visibility of the entire delivery process. It empowers customers to know what’s happening on the ground, when should she expect her delivery, why there are delays and so on. Not only loyalty, real-time visibility positively impacts delivery happiness score as well.
From a business perspective, real-time visibility helps logistics stakeholders get crucial insights into delivery KPIs like understanding route efficiency and performance of a delivery executive. This significantly boosts productivity of delivery fleet and increases profitability.
Also, by leveraging real-time visibility, eCommerce businesses can get quick feedback from customers which can be eventually used to make the delivery process more personalized.
Changing Customer Expectations Based on Geographies
Having said that, personalizing deliveries depends a lot on customer behaviour, and customer behaviour is unique to specific geographies. For instance, managing delivery and customer expectation become a bit more complex if your business operates in geographies like Europe.
In Europe, challenges like fragmented transportation market and driver shortages make delivering a seamless customer experience difficult. Buying frequently in less quantity is another important trend that has been shaping a buyer’s expectation in Europe.
Fragmented Transportation Market
In Europe, even the largest transportation companies only cover only 10 percent of the transportation market. Therefore, the dependency on disparate 3PL providers is immense. To ensure greater control over outsourced logistics providers and provide on-time deliveries, businesses need to invest in platforms that deliver high levels of visibility throughout all stakeholders.
The European trucking industry is facing a chronic driver shortage. According to European Road Freight Transport 2018, European transport firms are racing towards a driver shortage crisis of 150,000 unfilled jobs. The report highlights that in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway the shortage of drivers adds up to 127,500. Hence, there is a dire need to drastically increase productivity of each truck, again highlighting the need to enhance visibility of delivery fleet.
People in Europe are more inclined towards buying in less quantity but more frequently. This drastically shoots up the need for post and parcel businesses to invest in disruptive technologies like machine learning and predictive intelligence to scale delivery operations.
How Predictive Visibility Can Increase Delivery Happiness Score
This whole goal of providing absolute visibility of delivery process may come across as a complex problem to solve, but by using tools powered by advanced technologies like Machine Learning (ML), businesses can easily achieve this goal.
ML allows delivery platforms to crawl through historical data of already traveled delivery routes and generate predictive visibility and critical insights to boost fleet productivity and reduce costs.
Say, one of your delivery executives needs to travel through point A, B and C to reach a customer’s destination. Referring to historical data, ML capabilities can benchmark the time taken to reach point B from A and point C from B. In case the duration to reach any of these points exceeds the already set threshold, it will immediately trigger alerts and help delivery stakeholders know that something has gone wrong and action needs to be taken. This eliminates the chances of further delays.
By analyzing historical data of route performance and efficiency of 3PLs, predictive visibility helps businesses generate accurate ETAs by eliminating guesswork.
Machine learning and predictive intelligence can be of immense help when it comes to ensuring scaling delivery operations. Leveraging these disruptive technologies, businesses can quickly and intelligently outsource delivery to nearest third-party delivery providers to ensure rapid scale. It can also optimize delivery routes depending on the number of orders placed from a particular location. These significantly optimize the number of deliveries successfully closed per day.
When it comes to embracing technologies like ML, analytics and predictive intelligence, the question is not how but when organizations will take the first step. To satisfy the growing expectation of customer demands and boost delivery happiness scores, ‘now‘is the answer.
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