9 Key Considerations of an Effective Last Mile Delivery Strategy

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Blog post created by Adam Robinson and originally published on October 2, 2017 on  http://cerasis.com 

 

Understanding last mile logistics is only half the battle. Shippers need to reevaluate their existing last mile logistics processes and devise an effective last mile logistics strategy that aligns consumer and business expectation.

This is the only way shippers can safeguard their position in the market and continue to provide products to their consumer basis. In fact, an effective last mile logistics strategy must consider these nine key points.

1. Planning Is Essential To Have an Effective Last Mile Delivery Strategy

Any effective strategy must begin with effective planning. Shippers must evaluate current last mile logistics strategy processes and create plans for managing the creation or adoption of an effective last mile logistics strategy. As explained by Tarra Singh of Supply Chain Beyond, this includes prioritizing planning and establishing standard operating procedures for managing last mile logistics

2. Leverage the Right Technology as Part of Your Strategy

One of the first problems with creating a last mile logistics strategy is cost. According to Mitchell’s NY, last mile logistics is seen as the least efficient leg of shipping, and it accounts for up to 20 percent of the total shipping cost of a product. Last mile delays and problems during delivery can eat away at fuel costs and seriously devalue a brand, but shippers can leverage technology, such as Big Data, to make small changes and improvements to last mile logistics processes.

Shippers considering implementing or upgrading technology to meet last mile logistics demands should also consider ease and speed of implementation prior to making any such decisions. E-commerce markets move at the speed of light, and unnecessary delays could result in customer losses.

3. Analyze Everything

Nothing should be off the table when considering an effective last mile logistics strategy and implementation. Shippers should analyze everything from the biggest to the smallest possible influencers.

4. Manage the Whole Last Mile Delivery Process

Shippers must manage the whole last mile delivery process in effective last mile logistics strategies. This includes the driver, the shipment, the trucks, the technologies used to track such shipments, online platforms and consumer devices. Obviously, shippers cannot track what consumers use their personal devices for all the time, but they can use metrics and Big Data to track what consumers are doing on their respective e-commerce sites.

5. Be Consumer-Centric

An effective last mile logistics strategy must be focused on consumer needs. This is the cornerstone of all modern logistics strategies, regardless of whether it is direct to consumer or business-to-business sales.

6. Think Outside-the-Box

Traditional standards of delivery do not work effectively in modern last mile logistics strategies. Companies must think of unconventional solutions to meet last mile delivery demands, like Uber, Instacart or Deliv. These app-based last mile logistics providers are disruptors, but they can enable shippers to meet consumers growing demands for faster, tighter delivery Windows.

7. Measure Performance

Amazon sets industry standards for last mile delivery, reports the Supply Chain Game Changer, and the e-commerce giant’s free shipping services, otherwise known as Amazon Prime, highlights why shippers must measure performance.

With up to 6 percent of consumers in the US willing to pay for same-day delivery and 28 percent of consumers are willing to abandon their shopping carts due to excessive fees, shippers cannot afford to forgo measuring performance. Performance measurement goes back to cutting costs wherever possible, without sacrificing quality or service.

8. Manage Returns Thoroughly, Effectively

Managing returns and reverse logistics are another consideration in creating an effective last mile logistics strategy, reports Industry Week. Retailer differences in SKUs and returns options for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar store purchases can complicate the issue.

As a result, shippers should consider the form, function and placement of inventory, including inventory coming in from reverse logistics channels, in their entire warehousing and distribution network. This will ensure the company has product, even if it is refurbished or returned product, available nearest to consumers.

9. Location. Location. Location

One of the final considerations goes back to how quickly a product can be mobilized and delivered. It goes back to the location of the product and the location of consumers. Shippers must create robust last mile logistics strategies that shrink the distance between warehouse and consumer.

This might include using stores-as-a-distribution center. Ultimately, shippers that reduce this distance as much as possible and through as many means as possible will be able to create a tighter, more effective last mile logistics strategy.

What’s Next?

After crafting an effective last mile logistics strategy, shippers come to one ultimate conclusion. They need to revamp the technology and processes used in managing both overall and last mile logistics. Moreover, last mile logistics is key to reducing overhead and improving customer service.

As a result, more shippers will turn to technology and newer transportation management systems (TMS) to aid in the efficient execution of the last mile.

 

Check out  Last Mile Delivery! What is your Strategy?

#Retail #ECommerce #SupplyChain #Logistics

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Brick and Mortar Stores: Stand Up and Unite!

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It’s time for the Retail Brick and Mortar Store to stand up and be counted!   All of the talk about the demise of Brick and Mortar stores is premature.

In this age of E-Commerce the vast majority of retail sales are still conducted face to face in a physical store.  Even Millennials shop in a physical store 50% of the time.

The phenomenal growth of E-Commerce is undeniable.  But more importantly we must remember that customers want an OMNICHANNEL experience, NOT a Single Channel experience.

At the intersection of what the Customer wants and what the Retailer wants is the Brick and Mortar store!  This is where the Brick and Mortar Store is uniquely positioned to leverage its significant advantages!

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Customers Do Not Care About Your Internal Problems!

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“The system is down.  We can’t ship any customer orders. We’re not sure when the system will be back up again.”

Coming into the Holidays, the busiest time of the year, that is the last thing that I wanted to hear.

I thought about it and said, “The Customer doesn’t care.

From that point forward we pulled together the necessary resources and visibility to get the problem solved quickly.   But the message was clear: The Customer doesn’t care about our internal problems.

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A “Don’t Touch” Strategy will Dramatically Lean out your Supply Chain!

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The box I was looking at in the Pick-To-Light (PTL)  lane was full of at least 1-2 dozen different skus with as many as one to twenty of each sku in the box.  It looked like the insides of a piñata in there.  Although a piñata is used in celebrations I was quite sure that when the retail store opened the box they wouldn’t be celebrating.

All along the PTL conveyor every box looked like an explosion of different skus in different quantities.  At every station an employee was following the lights and picking a different quantity of each sku from one set of boxes and putting them in the “piñata” box.

I knew that this was the way it had historically been done, and the company had just spent millions and millions of dollars automating this historic process, but from a Lean perspective the whole approach was wasteful, slow, and expensive.

Was it really necessary to touch every single piece of every single sku multiple times?

Continue reading “A “Don’t Touch” Strategy will Dramatically Lean out your Supply Chain!”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in E-Commerce! (Infographic)

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Infographic provided by Jake Rheude at http://redstagfulfillment.com

The convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Retail industry is underway.  Further it has the potential for exponential dissemination across the Retail landscape in the future along with expansion of it’s applications and capabilities.

From playing a role in managing the Customer Experience to providing Buying, Replenishment and Fulfillment capabilities to analyzing the ever growing expanse of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay in Retail.

The following infographic depicts a variety of applications of AI in the Retail space along with real life examples from world renowned companies.

 

AI in E-Commerce

 

E-Commerce continues to be the fastest growing channel in any industry worldwide.  And AI is a technology for today and in the future.  A convergence between E-Commerce and AI is a natural fit.

E-Commerce growth requires the deployment of advanced technology in order to provide the scalability necessary to sustain and support that growth.  Artificial Intelligence requires channels that have a need to leverage technological capabilities and are willing to experiment, invest and evolve with the progression of AI.

 

 

Check out The Internet of Things (IoT) – Welcome the Digital Supply Chain!

#AI #ECommerce #SupplyChain #Technology

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From Click to Ship in 4 Minutes! … Principles for World Class E-Commerce Fulfillment

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The capability we had in E-Commerce order fulfillment was rather basic.  We had employees manually pushing carts up and down standard warehouse racking aisles picking goods off of shelves.  And when they had completed an order or a set of orders they would then push the entire cart back to a centralized order packing station.

As a Supply Chain Services company we needed a dramatically better capability if we were wanted to have customers trust their growing E-Commerce business with us.  Pushing carts around a warehouse is both inefficient and lacks innovation.

We had to go back to the drawing board.  But in doing so we would end up with a World Class solution!

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Black Friday – If your Supply Chain isn’t ready now you are in Trouble!

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The Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza is almost upon us.  While it may seem like a long time for functions such as Marketing or Sales, for your Supply Chain the Black Friday push should be on right now!

If you have products manufactured overseas for instance then if those products are not either on the ocean right now or en route over land to your Distribution Centres then you are already in trouble!

Continue reading “Black Friday – If your Supply Chain isn’t ready now you are in Trouble!”