While there is a lot of talk and frenzy around the last mile, let us take a bird’s eye view of the big picture. What we would see is likely to startle us because, irrespective of whether one has the perfect last mile network or not, its effect largely depends on factors outside of it. With the entire inventory cycle unoptimized, an optimized last mile is rendered pointless.
Let us see some key challenges in how the factors outside the last mile affect it
#1 Inventory availability
The last mile hub is a critical piece in determining the last mile customer experience. However, with the changing landscape of the demands on the last mile hub due to the increasing adoption of home deliveries, there is a growing need to take a relook at it. The surge in demand for home deliveries has not just shattered the ecosystem from the shackles of its existing mechanisms but also impacted severely the way inventory is managed. But for inventory optimized enough, it wouldn’t have any impact on your efforts to get the right products at the right time at the right place.
#2 Store management
With the rise in curb-side deliveries, efficient space management in-store and outside becomes critical. With constraints such as traffic, hours of operation, movement restrictions, social distancing norms, the last thing you want is a confusion in the usage of space where unloading activity happens and where curbside pickups happen. There is also another major challenge where the schedules of vehicles arriving at the storefront to unload need to be synchronized with shift timings of store workers. The other challenge is avoiding long queues of trucks waiting to unload at the store. With 3 key variables in play, one needs an efficient system to manage the warehouse-to-store leg.
#3 Carrier management
While delivery partner management is an emerging challenge in the current context of surging deliveries and the growing dominance of third-party marketplaces, the same challenge exists in the other paradigm - warehouse to store too. While retail is all about margins, every opportunity to cut costs and save operational expenditure is a wishlist item for every C-suite leader, this is one massive area of opportunity where moving away from panic and emergency-based decisions can make a significant contribution. In addition to the cost benefit, it also tightens the SLA adherence requirements for last mile carriers. This would ensure timely delivery at stores, solve queue management issues at the unloading points at the storefront, ensure that inventory is readily available for last mile delivery.
While the last mile is critical for customer experience management, it is clearly evident that the first and mid mile play a huge role in it. To achieve end-to-end efficiency in delivery logistics, it is important to take a holistic approach to managing your last mile carrier operations with predictive intelligence. This is exactly where a platform like FarEye can help.
To learn more about FarEye’s intelligent logistics platform, sign up for a demo here.