One of the most important aspects in the delivery timeline, last mile is the final leg in getting the delivery to the consumer. This journey is typically mapped from the transportation hub to the final delivery destination. Why is last mile delivery important? Because it greatly determines the quality of your service delivery as well as has a bearing on the delivery cost. Considering the fact that last mile delivery can make up to 28 percent of a shipment’s total cost, it plays an important and challenging role in the delivery fulfillment.
Getting a seamless last-mile delivery fulfillment right is not an easy task. Take the case of a pizza home delivery, where companies have an SLA to deliver it in 30 minutes. The entire delivery journey needs to be time-bound to ensure the final delivery takes place as promised. Achieving this accuracy largely depends on how well-orchestrated your last-mile delivery chain is.
Let’s explore some common challenges that last mile delivery encounters and solutions that companies can leverage to deliver a smooth last-mile experience.
Challenge 1: Delayed/Missed Deliveries
Has your field force been defaulting on your company’s delivery SLAs? Customer expectations with last mile deliveries are becoming less tolerant with each passing day. In the age of same-day deliveries, delays in your last mile deliveries could turn into a serious issue. One may not have control over all the factors affecting last mile delivery – it could be a simple issue like road closure or transport glitches that may delay your last-mile delivery. What if the delivery never made it to the destination? Late or missed deliveries are a common problem, and companies need to maintain a fine balance between timely deliveries and keeping customers happy.
Unforeseen delays in last-mile delivery cannot be controlled; however, companies can try and appease customers by handling the entire issue with more maturity. Here transparency and communication can play a defining role in keeping your customers calm and satisfied. Involve your customers in the delivery journey by giving them scope to track their deliveries and be in touch with the assigned delivery person. The key is for your customers to have honest communication about their deliveries – they need to know if the delivery will be late so they can work out their schedule accordingly, instead of waiting.
Sometimes, deliveries end up arriving at the wrong place. To solve the issue of incorrect deliveries, companies need to bring in an efficient route optimization software, which will significantly reduce delays by providing real-time route alerts and accurate addresses. Optimized beat plans not just play a key role in last mile delivery but also enable your field-force to tackle dynamic route-related issues on the go, as simple navigating traffics and diversions. Companies who have used route optimization software have seen a significant jump in successful last-mile deliveries.
Challenge 2: False Delivery Claims
If your last mile delivery is done right, but the customer is still posting wrong claims, how do you address this issue? Dealing with dishonest customers can be a real pain in the neck. Such customers raise false claims about defects and delays, although the parcel was delivered to them on time. Such customers are troublemakers who want to show the company in low light. And they can do so by putting false reviews on the internet. This is a serious concern for a company’s brand image and customer loyalty.
One easy way to deal with dishonest customers is to always demand proof of delivery. This could be a customer sign off that the package was received on time and in good condition. Once this proof of delivery is documented, the customer becomes accountable, which shifts the onus on him. It is always a safe idea for companies doing last-mile deliveries to capture proof and validate delivery so that customers don’t raise false claims. This saves time, effort, and reputation!
Challenge 3: Competitive Delivery Costs
Last mile delivery comes at a price. But to find a delivery service which is fast and affordable is a challenge. Customer decision also depends on the shipping cost he is charged on making an online purchase. Hence, last mile delivery needs to be fast to ensure SLAs are met, and the shipping cost needs to be affordable to customers at the same time. Overall, your delivery costs need to be competitive to attract customers. This often poses a challenge for companies to zero down on the right pricing model.
Third-party shipping is a popular alternative where companies offer a flat shipping charge to customers. Companies can outsource their last mile delivery to third party shipping companies. This gives the company two advantages – they don’t need to hire more delivery workforce, and second, they can concentrate on strengthening their core delivery offering.
Challenge 4: Balancing Delivery Density
Like every industry, even last-mile delivery has its peak times to manage. There would be days when the number of last mile deliveries is higher than on other days. How can companies manage this delivery workload? How can last-mile deliveries be segregated to ensure that no deliveries are missed or delayed? How can companies manage the workforce for delivery overload?
This is where technology in the form of intelligent scheduling software comes to the rescue. To manage the load of increasing delivery requests, companies can make use of dynamic scheduling software to triage the delivery request. This means prioritized deliveries get addressed first. Scheduling can also be done based on area and manpower available to see how to get the best delivery coverage at an optimal level.
Challenge 5: Poor Customer Engagement
Once the customer has placed an order, he expects in return to be communicated about all the details of the package delivery. Many times, companies fail to provide this very important communication channel to customers to easily track their package with real time updates. In the absence of a transparent exchange of delivery information, the customer turns irate and restless. This means your delivery experience is taking a beating.
The easiest way to address this issue is to provide customers with real-time, GPS tracking options that provide full transparency and disclosure about where their packages actually are and when they can expect them. To make it even better, give your customers the flexibility to choose their preferred delivery window (date and time) to avoid any further complications. Simply put, don’t shy away from interacting with your customers!
Last mile delivery is a challenging landscape. But cloud-based SaaS technology solutions like Dista have been designed to empower your last-mile deliveries with customized solutions for your business needs.
Supercharge your delivery management with Dista Delivery. Powered by Google Maps and built on the Google Cloud Platform, this customizable, AI-ready delivery management software offers companies end-to-end visibility & real-time control on the delivery process right from tracking delivery agents, smart dispatching, optimizing delivery routes, digitizing proof of delivery and managing returns.
Would you like to build a great on-demand delivery experience? Try out our demo for Dista Deliver.