Understanding last mile logistics

Last mile delivery is now a critical business differentiator element due to the surge of online orders. In 2017, ecommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales worldwide, which is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021. With consumers increasingly relying on online shopping — it is estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040. This projected increase will span across a products types including apparel, entertainment, food, health & beauty, electronics and much more.
Last mile delivery is the movement of goods from the transportation hub to its destination. It’s the last leg of a shipment’s trip before it is delivered to the customers. Last mile deliveries account for nearly 35% percent of total delivery costs, and a business can win or lose a customer for life depending on a good or bad delivery experience.

Factors affecting Last mile Logistics

1. Poor infrastructure
In developing countries, the infrastructure is not up-to the mark. As a result, the methods which are used to complete the delivery process might not go as planned. It inevitably means long journeys, inefficient routes which result in late delivery of the product. This even adds to fuel costs because of the extra time spent in driving around with parcels. Delivery in charge has to deal with numerous issues such as wrong or inappropriate addresses, traffic in busy urban areas, remote deliveries etc.

2. Types of goods
Occasionally, even the type of goods can add to the challenges of last mile delivery. Products like fragile items – antiques, artwork, glass items, perishable goods and other tangible goods face risk of damage during the courier journey. For their damage free delivery to their ultimate destination, proper safety measures and planning are essential.

3. Customer Problems
Inadequate information about the parcel like incomplete address, remote location, cramped locations, and absence of the customer to receive the package or return creates obstacle in the delivery of the items. These issues do not let the delivery of goods to be on time as expected by both courier companies and customers. The potential delivery costs also increases as a result of these unwanted issues.

4. Lack of Visibility
For a perfect last mile delivery process, focus on visibility is an important thread to be worked upon by all courier companies. There is a link established between supply chain visibility and customer satisfaction that should be maintained with utmost urgency by the retailers. With real-time tracking, customers remain aware of the status of their deliveries and thus do not feel the need to complain.
Companies which are vulnerable to disruptions of poor visibilities suffer a lot as they are not able to present a detailed view of their operations. Therefore, companies need to rewire their work methods and provide visibility to customers in order to retain them and provide complete customer satisfaction.

5. Customer Expectations
Some customers demand quick delivery of their products. In cases where customers demand same day delivery of goods and are also willing to pay extra amount for it, eventually are disappointed by the courier companies. These companies fail in strategizing delivery routes resulting in late delivery and poor customer satisfaction.

6. Transparency
This is one of the most common challenges faced by the companies. Customers need end-to- end overview of their products being shipped.
Lack of visibility of goods may not provide complete information about the product journey and result into dissatisfaction in the minds of customers. Customer wants to see the exact location of the driver, amount of time required to receive the parcel and the delivery location of the parcel delivery.
To overcome the problem of transparency, companies use cloud based tracking solutions to keep customers updated about the status of their parcels. Warnings about disruptions in delivery are communicated in time to the customers before they lodge about such complains or feel negative about the quality of courier service. This is one of the most common challenges faced by the companies.

View this infographic to find out how smartbox help streamline the last mile logistics:

How to Streamline the Last mile Logistics process

One must always keep in mind that the circumstances affecting the delivery may differ from place to place, but one thing that always remains constant is that shoppers across the globe prioritize convenience and fast delivery.

1. Solutions to combat geographic challenges
In delivery, efficiency are the key. The delivery time may vary depending on the number of stops that occur on a given run and how many parcels are delivered at each stop. Hence cities with dense apartment buildings are the best areas for last-mile delivery. But a drawback of such places is that they have heavy traffic and fewer parking spaces, hampering the business’s productivity. Other the other hand the areas with low population and long distances between shops are rather difficult areas for last mile delivery.

2. Avoid failed deliveries
Sometimes people aren’t available to receive their parcels, in such cases the delivery companies have to make repeated attempts for delivery, which results in increasing the potential delivery’s cost of the company. Another option is to ask the customers to pick up their package from a particular location. This helps in saving both time and money.

3. Adapting New Technology
To cope up with the ever changing technology landscape retailers need to adapt new strategies for the growth. Failure in last mile deliveries is a worrisome issue and to smoothen the procedures businesses should increase the use and be more receptive and adaptable to technology. Alterations that are to be made in the near future are listed as follows-

• User- friendly interface for e-commerce companies, logistic companies and also for customers to gain efficiency in work. These interfaces will be simple and easy to use for all.
• Application based software’s will be introduced for faster communication between the E commerce companies, logistics companies and customers for timely updates.
• Timely data collection and interpretation for a better understanding of customer behavior
• Warehouses and storage places will be more systematically maintained for safe and quick movement of consignments.
• Effective changes in transportation services for on-time delivery to goods to the destined customer.

4. Real-time visibility
Real time visibility is one of most important needs of the consumers today. The customer wants to remain updated with the real status of their parcels and want to know the problems that may rise during the course of delivery. Informing customers about important events like delays, status etc. should be notified to the consumers on the right time to avoid arguments and loss of faith. As a result, the customer gets notified in advance and does not raise a complain.

The Solution

From the above one thing is clear, as online shopping is growing rapidly in today’s internet-driven world, problems of getting it delivered affordably, safely and on-time are the real issues that needs to be answered to gain competitive advantage. People value those logistics companies that provide fast and flexible delivery solutions, Smart Lockers are one such important and unavoidable solution that companies should consider.
These automated delivery terminals provide convenience to customers, reduce labor time and costs, reduce potential operational delivery costs and help make the fragmented and wastage of product delivery minimum as the parcels are dropped off at a single consolidated drop and a pick-up location. In several countries, it has resulted in the deployment of lockers where customers can receive or return their packages.

Smart lockers from Smartbox, are a feature-rich, scalable and hardware agnostic platform that provides the most dynamic solution for last mile logistics. Our platform provides a wide range of smart locker applications that can be deployed in diverse industry verticals. Our technology offers secure, efficient, accountable and convenient package delivery as well as auditable asset storage while giving users 24-hour access to lockers and the ability to track deliveries remotely.

If you are curious to learn more about smart lockers from Smartbox and how our platform provides a wide range of smart locker applications that can be deployed in diverse industry verticals, dial +91-8882-760-760 to speak with one of our representatives or send an email to info@smartbox.in. We would be glad to assist you.


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