Many sectors have struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, one of the sectors that grew exponentially and also tried to support the other sectors was e-commerce. During the lockdown, more and more consumers used the internet to shop for necessities like groceries and even heavy machinery. As online shopping keeps exploding, the consumers are rapidly getting inclined towards brands that guarantee fast or same-day delivery.
But this poses a huge challenge for businesses.
With every passing year the need to shrink fulfilment cycles is becoming more urgent. This is a particular problem in the B2B segment, where ticket sizes of items are larger and cumbersome. Even back in 2018, companies mentioned that the huge bulk orders reduces the efficiency of B2B ‘last mile delivery’.
How can a B2B business overcome these challenges to operate in a manner that is at par with the B2C segment where ‘one-day delivery’ is fast becoming the norm? An answer, if not the only, is by optimizing ‘last-mile delivery’ systems.
What is Last Mile Delivery?
In simple terms, last-mile delivery is the movement of goods from a transportation hub to the end customer. B2B industries have been quite actively using the last-mile delivery system, but it has not evolved as fast as the B2C systems. Hence, to bring up B2B delivery system up to speed, these are some key enhancements businesses need.
1. Real-Time Tracking
Real-time tracking allows enterprises to have more control over delivery fleet and at the same provide transparency to end customers is guise of live tracking, updates on delivery progress and highly accurate ETAs. B2B deliveries have greater compliance requisites; hence it makes absolute sense to deploy real-time tracking tools so as to keep a constant watch on freight movement. Also, real-time tracking drastically eliminates the need for manual intervention resulting in cost efficient deliveries, error free delivery execution and decreasing volumes of customer queries.
2. Route Optimization
Route optimization helps enterprises automatically plan the most optimal route to deliver goods in order to ensure the lowest cost of transportation and on time deliveries. It eases the issues that delivery stakeholders usually face due to unavailability of vehicles or drivers while meeting customers’ short notice requirements in real time. Moreover, route optimization in logistics takes into account the real-time events such as the condition of traffic, availability of equipment and personnel for loading/unloading etc. Any type of contingency that arises in the process of transportation, route optimization has a quick response to it. In short, route optimization helps enterprises quickly address various challenges that the transportation industry usually faces. Most importantly it significantly improves on-time in-full adherence, a key metric to delivery success in the B2B world.
3. Flexible Deliveries
The cost of order cancellations is comparatively higher in the B2B segment than in B2C due to the larger order volumes. The risk posed by last-minute order cancellation, order changes or changes in store locations can be mitigated by using last-mile delivery software that can ease the process and help deal with contingency. The Question is how? To ensure high responsiveness to order changes, a modern last-mile delivery platform ensures that changes in customer orders are immediately updated in delivery workflows and jobs are assigned accordingly. This has a significant benefit too. Customers can avail high-levels of delivery flexibility by changing delivery time and location on the fly according to their convenience. For enterprise this translates to delightful delivery experiences and higher customer loyalty.
4. Timely Alerts
Leveraging modern last-mile delivery platform businesses can keep customers informed at every step and deliver a predictable, superior and consistent customer experience with proactive alerts and notifications on ETAs and delays. It helps deliver an interactive track and trace experience that retains, engages, and delights customers. Businesses can provide customers with a self-service delivery model by allowing them to change delivery time and location on the fly. With regards to businesses, delivery managers can instantly receive alerts in case of unnecessary stoppages, route diversions, vehicle idling and more.
5. Auto-Allocation of Resources
When executing deliveries, enterprises often rely on traditional delivery strategies and manual processes to assign tasks. These methods are prone to errors, they are rigid, time consuming and have limitations when it comes to scaling delivery operations. Hence, last mile carriers are leveraging modern last-mile delivery platforms to automate task allocation. Based on urgency, delivery costs, customer proximity and other such KPIs, such a platform can efficiently assign delivery tasks to drivers and also respond to sudden increase in delivery demands by onboarding temporary delivery partners.
6. Understanding Customer Behavior
While being critical about your operation cycle, it is also equally important to evaluate the buyer. Capturing their buying history and expectations, such as dock delays and or receiver problems, can highlight the hindrances from the point of the buyer. These data can help you synergize with the buyers to tackle the roadblocks and further smooth out the process.
7. More Delivery Options
Enabling multiple delivery options enhances your customer experience and also helps reduce your last-mile delivery costs. This is widely practiced in the B2C e-commerce segment and logistics delivery segment globally. It ensures that the cost of delivery incurred can be distributed across different cohorts as per their preference via different modes of transportation.
8. Real-Time Reports & Analytics
Real-time analytics and reports can provide crucial data points that can help make informed business decisions. Setting up the relevant metrics like distance covered, miles per task, idle time, average time per task etc. and evaluating the same can help optimize your current operational procedure.
The last mile phase of a delivery becomes expensive if the core processes involved are not optimized. Therefore, it makes absolute sense to embrace a last-mile delivery software to cut down delivery costs, boost customer experience and improve your logistics operations. FarEye is empowering global businesses to drastically optimize their last-mile operations and drive greater profitability. To know how, you can simply sign up for a quick demo here.