As the logistics industry has grown in recent years, so has customer demand for fast, affordable service. Much of this growth is focused on the final stages of the logistics process: last mile logistics. The market for last mile, or final mile, logistics is set to grow by 16% annually between 2021 and 2025; a growth spurred mainly by a new customer reliance on fast, affordable shipping. But with last mile delivery costs counting up to 53% of total shipping costs, according to Insider Intelligence, businesses are turning to new solutions to solve common last mile delivery issues.
Last-mile delivery issues refer to a broad swathe of logistical snags that businesses can encounter in the final stages of the shipping process. These snags are more costly than they might occur at other supply chain stages because of their proximity to delivery deadlines. But last mile delivery risks go beyond missed deliveries. Last mile delivery issues often emerge due to the last mile shipping environment, busy streets and crowded ports, or customer doorways and drop-off points. These costs can quickly add up and affect delivery times. However, the costs of last mile delivery risks don’t stop there; with longer delivery times come increasingly impatient customers, many of whom quickly turn to other businesses. This loss in business can have significant consequences on future revenues.
Luckily, tech-enabled supply chain risk management providers have stepped forward with cutting-edge logistics solutions as these problems grow. By understanding how these solutions can prevent common last-mile slip-ups, businesses can better understand how to get the most out of the final mile.
Last Mile Mistakes Shippers Need to Know
But before understanding the solutions, shippers need to understand the common last mile delivery issues gumming up their logistics.
- A Lack of Transparency and Communication Poor communication in the final mile can easily result in costly last mile delivery issues. Communication struggles can quickly lead to missed deliveries, an expensive mistake businesses can’t afford. Missed deliveries can have costs beyond simple reimbursement fees; they can leave customers disappointed and searching for other options, quickly cutting into future revenue streams.
- Shippers and Carriers Lack Technology and Tools Though logistics providers are vital to the world economy, their technology can often be decades old. This technology, prone to mix-ups and mistakes, can leave businesses in the lurch when things go wrong. Without backups and custom interfaces, businesses are left to tackle logistics without the advantage of recent advancements. As it stands, shippers are left to tackle the last mile delivery issues of today with yesterday’s tools.
- Lack of Accountability When Things go Wrong Without an easily accessible record of the entire logistics process, it can be challenging to hold faulty parties accountable for costly mistakes. This lack of accountability can easily lead to expensive litigation. With online documentation of the entire supply chain, supply chain risk management solutions can provide the backup businesses need.
- Poor Predictive Planning to Head off Delivery Risks Without analytics, businesses struggle to adapt to trends. Real-world logistics demand real-world adaptability; otherwise, businesses operate in the dark. The inability to notice trends means businesses have slower response times and lose invaluable efficiency quickly. These efficiency issues can quickly branch into other last mile delivery issues, impacting operations across the supply chain.
- Inability to React and Respond to Needs and Issues Traditional logistics offer only traditional response times. This means protracted phone calls, email exchanges, faxes, and snail mail. While these strategies may have worked for the logistics of a decade ago, the complex demands of today’s logistics industry require real-time, adaptable capabilities. Today’s last-mile delivery issues require today’s solutions.
Customer Risks Common With Delivery Dilemmas
Beyond the last mile delivery issues businesses face, customers face a wide range of last mile delivery risks. Though these risks are less high-stakes than those facing businesses, a disgruntled customer base can have broad ramifications.
- Missed delivery ETAs It’s happened to everyone: mistimed deliveries get left on the porch and ruined by the weather, or deliveries arrive when you’re not home and are sent on a long journey back to the shipper. These missed deliveries are a constant cause for concern for businesses and customers alike and can quickly leave customers searching for more reliable alternatives. Though common, these last mile delivery issues can quickly add up to have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line.
- Damaged goods and packages There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting weeks for a package to arrive, only to find it arrives in a crumpled mess. This experience can leave customers feeling frustrated and desperate for another option. This damage often results from poor communication between businesses, delivery professionals, and customers.
- Slow response to issues: Some last mile delivery issues are inevitable; how businesses respond to these inevitable issues counts. However, traditional logistics technology–email, snail mail, phone-tag–can take weeks to resolve issues, leaving customers dissatisfied and eager to find another option. These minor dissatisfactions don’t take long to accumulate into large-scale revenue costs.
- Poor communication notices: Many customers learned during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that many delays are unavoidable. However, how a business communicates those delays can make all the difference. Prompt communication can build customer confidence and loyalty, whereas slow communication can leave customers asking for refunds in no time.
Improving Supply Chain Risk Management With Technology
Improving supply chain risk management begins with technology. Recent advances in last mile logistics technology can help businesses work against last mile delivery issues while increasing efficiency on all fronts. Supply chain risk management solutions providers are visibility over logistics providers. Once made easily accessible through an API (Automated Programming Interface), this visibility can provide a vast wealth of information for businesses looking to get the most out of their logistics.
Complete supply chain visibility allows businesses to respond to logistics crises before they dramatically impact revenues or customer opinion. Say there’s a slow down at port, and a business shipment is inbound. With real-time visibility and full-supply chain communications, that business can quickly re-route their shipment to another port, or allocate additional freight assets to help alleviate the slow-down. Without these technological capabilities, the business would run head-first into a logistical nightmare. Complete supply chain visibility helps businesses react to real-world logistical crises in real-time.
However, visibility is only as useful as the platform it’s accessible on. By partnering with the last mile delivery issues solutions provider, businesses can access the full benefits of the latest advancements in supply chain technology, all through an easily accessible API (Automated Programming Interface). This cross-platform, fully-capable logistics tool can be instantly accessed by any delivery professional within any modality, ensuring that businesses have access to the total supply chain visibility they need to stay successful in a cutthroat logistics marketplace.
Stopping the Domino Effect of Last Mile Slip-Ups and Risks
As with any chain, the supply chain is built from a series of links. When one of these links breaks, the chain falls apart. In other words, issues at one end of the supply chain can drastically affect events at the other. With this in mind, there are several steps businesses can take to solve persistent last mile delivery issues.
- Outsourcing Services and Processes Finding reliable logistics partners to help distribute the workload can make a massive difference in the daily procedures of a logistics business. By partnering with a courier driver service, logistics businesses can free themselves from worrying about short-distance travel and instead focus on the big stuff.
- Integrating Delivery Management Systems Integrated delivery management systems can give businesses the ability to allocate shipping needs throughout the supply chain and automate notifications that can keep businesses, shippers, and customers up to date with the latest shipping estimates. These notifications, integrated into an API, can be accessed on multiple platforms and serve as a surefire way of keeping logistics on track.
- Use Technology to Optimize Delivery Fully customizable and automated notifications can tell customers when a package has been delivered and when it’s on its way. This allows customers to plan accordingly, cutting down on one of the most costly and persistent last mile delivery issues: missed deliveries. With optimization, missed deliveries are a thing of the past.
- Real-Time Delivery Tracking System Real-time delivery tracking means that customers can see precisely where their delivery is at any point within the logistics process. This groundbreaking innovation helps put the customer in the driver’s seat and ensures that customers will be ready for arrival. With this innovation alone, a broad range of last mile delivery issues can be avoided.
- Optimized Communication and Notifications Even with automated notifications and real-time delivery tracking, life happens. With optimized communication and notifications, businesses and customers can keep each other informed, cutting down on the costly expense of reimbursement in the last mile.
- Access to Logistic Experts For customers and businesses alike, ready access to a team of exception experts can mean the difference between a long, complex logistics experience and a smooth, seamless shipment process. These on-hand experts are ready to help businesses and customers work together to find a logistics solution that works for both parties.
Avoid Last Mile Slip-Ups and Reduce Customer Risks With Innovations from OneRail
With OneRail, businesses can access the supply chain risk management solutions they need to address costly last mile delivery issues. These issues can span entire supply chains and quickly tank bottom lines. OneRail is an API-enabled final mile software solution that provides intelligent allocation, real-time logistics expertise, and real-time visibility to some of the top names in logistics. Schedule a demo with OneRail today, and see what the future of logistics can do for your business today.