When retailers and shippers are battling against the tide with respect to increasing costs, sky-rocketing customer expectations, stiff competition and the Amazon profit seize effect, they are at a juncture where there is a compulsion to catch-up with all of this and still ensure timely deliveries are done at optimized costs. That is the mantra to even survive in this environment let alone thrive. The better they organize themselves and take steps to achieve the same, the better would be a competitive advantage that they gain. One of the most important pieces in this game of deliveries is the experience that the customer undergoes as a good Delivery Happiness Score is the cornerstone for customer retention and brand equity. For an on-time delivery execution to take place, a well-orchestrated engine needs to function like an oiled machine at peak efficiency. This involves several key stakeholders who are responsible for the successful and timely execution of deliveries and have very high stakes in it.
1) Field Staff
A day in John’s life:
John is a delivery agent who works with Express Miles, a leading post and parcel company with a clientele with an enviable list of clients for which they perform delivery operations. However, his life wasn’t all hunky dory because for 3 months straight he couldn’t manage to meet his number of deliveries which resulted in not being able to get his incentives which constituted a significant part of his paycheck. The worst part was, John was trying his best and wasn’t missing deliveries on his part and it almost seemed as though he was set up for failure that almost plummeted his morale into a bottomless abyss.
Neither Express Miles nor the fashion brand could afford to keep John or any other delivery agent at that level because they are the face of the company to the customer. If they need to uphold the integrity and values that your brand stands for, their motivation is of utmost importance to the perception and reputation of your brand among customers. As much as one emphasizes on Delivery Happinesscustomer experience, it would be a mistake of colossal proportions to cut corners when it comes to the experience your delivery staff have.
Although every party agreed to all this wisdom on morale and yet so many things went wrong that led to this state of John, there is a need for serious introspection.
When we do a time-in-motion analysis of a day in the life of John, it pans out something like this:
9 AM - John reports
10 AM - John's supervisor reports
11 AM - John’s allocation of deliveries is completed.
12 PM - John is on the way to deliver his first order which is at the farthest end of the territory.
1 PM - John returns with the shipment due to customer unavailability.
2 PM - John is on the way to make his second delivery for the day.
3 PM - John is on the way to make his third delivery for the day but yet again, the customer reschedules it.
4 PM - John is on the way for his next delivery but that is well past the time slot the customer chose at the time of delivery, yet that information didn’t reach John.
5 PM - Johan has 1 successful delivery and 3 parcels which he couldn’t deliver which he had to replace at the warehouse even if he wants to pick-up one more delivery.
If things were a little different, it would be a very different scene for John and the company as such. What were the missing pieces here?
Clarity - As soon as the day begins, if John has its day plan marked clearly through an automated system, that would give him close to 2 hours extra on the field to complete more deliveries.
Auto-allocation - If an allocation is data-driven, it would result in better planning of deliveries and thus make the sequence of deliveries more logical and optimize the number of deliveries.
Dynamic routing - To ensure that based on factors such as proximity, availability of customers for delivery, dynamic routing would help a great deal in making the overall system a bit intelligent enabling an increased number of deliveries.
Collaboration in real-time - Real-time coordination with the customer would help to avoid trips where deliveries cannot be fulfilled due to customer unavailability.
2) Transportation manager
A story of Mark, not your usual Transportation manager.
Mark seemed to be having a chilled life from outside where he had to manage fulfilment and he himself wasn’t in the field performing the deliveries. What one would not know is that he was accountable for the performance of his field staff and their successful completion of deliveries had a serious impact on his paycheck.
Part of it is people like John who are striving hard to complete their deliveries on-time and are unable to despite their best efforts. This causes a lot of hassles both in the short and the long term. The short term hassle is that of rescheduling and managing the stock back and forth, making sure it doesn’t get damaged with too many transits from
One of the key factors that affected the delivery of the shipment to customers is being on time when customers have given a time preference. This is
Delivery routing software most benefits the transportation manager as that will take him closer to his goals. Mark would have a much different life where he’d need to intervene only when there is an escalation or an exception to be handled instead of dealing with the everyday hassles of managing delivery failures and reschedules.
The leadership team primarily has 2 core priorities: Customer satisfaction and profitability.
The cornerstone to achieving both of these in one shot is to ensure that deliveries happen in a timely and cost-efficient manner. It isn’t common to deal with day-to-day on-the-ground operational activities in a C-suite discussion where most of the agenda is centred around long term strategy and how to align everything else to achieve those objectives. But, yet again, the fundamental building blocks of a strategy is on-field execution. Without a deep understanding of micro-level problems and challenges, it is impossible to get anywhere, let alone sailing towards strategic goals.
If Mark & John are in trouble, James(their vertical head) is in trouble too.
The stakes are really high when someone is sitting atop a chain of command and the entire chain is dealing with issues especially with regard to day-to-day execution of jobs especially when front-ending the company in front of the customers.
Although delivery routing software sounds like an execution level item, it means an awful lot to the leadership as well because delivery routing software can be very helpful in making sure more deliveries happen in a given time frame. It not only boosts profitability but also helps turnaround the entire scene for all stakeholders.
In fact, getting a delivery routing software in place is one of the first steps towards achieving strategic goals and could set new baselines for business growth in terms of the overall organization. Essentially, any modern organization strives to put employee happiness first as it is proven beyond doubt that happy employees