Customers are spending more of their money online, thanks to a variety of factors, including Amazon’s domination of the retail landscape and the global pandemic keeping some consumers out of brick-and-mortar stores.
Market research firm eMarketer predicted a growth in E-Commerce of 17.9% for 2021 — a great opportunity for wholesale distributors as well as retailers.
But there’s a catch for wholesalers still using manual order fulfillment: inefficient processes and lack of visibility make it hard to meet customer demand. Excel worksheets get big and unwieldy when you’re dealing with increasing order volumes — even worse if you also have to navigate complex courier networks with different service levels and pricing structures.
Last mile logistics for wholesale distributors can solve these challenges. Here’s how:
Cut Fulfillment Time with Delivery Order Automation
If you’re a wholesale distributor still wrestling with manual order processing and tracking with complicated Excel worksheets, you’re losing a lot of energy that you could focus on your core business goals. Each manual order fulfillment can take up to 16 minutes by the time you call couriers to find availability, compare prices (and track rate variations), process the order and dispatch it to meet the delivery speed you promised your customer.
But with a platform approach, one of the biggest benefits of last mile logistics is you can shave a huge chunk of time off that fulfillment process. Choose your shipping mode, find the best rate, check carrier availability and capacity, assign your order to a carrier, and then track its progress in real-time — all in a fraction of the time you spend with Excel sheets and on the phone with carriers.
Rate Shop More Efficiently
A last mile logistics solution should be able to show automatically negotiated carrier rates and locked-in prices, so you can get the best carrier price for each delivery without calling couriers in every city. If you can find a platform that handles multimodal transportation with ease, even better. You’ll have no trouble deciding between courier, parcel, LTL, FTL and more options to meet your budget.
Optimize Routes and Take Advantage of Multimodal Networks
To save on shipping costs and meet delivery estimates, you need to use the best route and courier for each shipment. This is another area where a good software platform shines. It can take into account no-entry windows, peak traffic hours and upcoming weather forecasts to plan the right route, then assign the right carrier (or series of carriers), and alert them to changing travel conditions and route changes.
Got a complex carrier network that includes courier, parcel, LTL/FTL, cross-dock and more modes? Final-mile logistics software can help keep all of those modes straight and choose the best one for each delivery.
Gain Real-Time Last Mile Logistics Visibility
Visibility is the most essential element to improving the last mile for wholesale order fulfillment. Without a way to pinpoint the location of every shipment across multiple courier companies, it’s impossible to spot trouble as it’s developing and reroute if necessary.
A last mile logistics solution solves the visibility challenge by centralizing tracking data across all of your shipments and courier networks. With real-time tracking, you can give your customers and operations team dynamic ETAs — and get ahead of delays before they affect customers. From dispatch to proof of delivery, a good software platform delivers clarity through the shipment’s entire journey.
Get a Handle on Delivery Exceptions
Delivery exceptions have a huge impact on customer satisfaction. The top three offenders are delays due to traffic jams, weather or courier issues; failed delivery attempts; and incorrect addresses. Some shipping issues (especially weather-related) are out of your control, but how proactive you are in communicating delays to customers can make all the difference.
Last mile logistics solutions for wholesale distributors facilitate this communication, both by helping you spot exceptions as (or even before) they occur, and by helping you quickly communicate status updates to customers. A good platform will also help you with dynamic rerouting to avoid potential trouble spots, and allow rescheduling deliveries without having to call customer service.
Crunch the Numbers with Actionable Data
Without an excellent grasp of your data, you’ll have a hard time spotting inefficiencies in your order fulfillment process so you can make improvements.
Last mile logistics platforms really shine here. Everything from the number of deliveries by location to average fleet cost to SLA completions is all stored with easy access for stakeholders. This historical data makes it much easier to make better supply chain decisions, to make your wholesale distribution process more resilient to future disruptions, and to guide important decisions like new courier selection and route optimization.
Need last mile logistics for wholesale distributors in one solid platform? With OneRail, you get:
- A 24/7 Exceptions Assist™ team to monitor weather and traffic patterns so you can prevent delivery exceptions before they occur
- Integration with more than 270 courier companies for real-time tracking
- Smart matching to the best carrier and prices based on location, travel radius, size, weight, and more
- Automated rate shopping to reduce your delivery fulfillment costs by 40-70% and increase delivery speed up to 35%
- And more features customized to your supply chain!