Last Mile Logistics

Developing a last mile logistics strategy by using technology, a key factor in today’s E-Commerce logistics success.

There has been a requirement never before for speedy logistics delivery and to implement last-mile logistics and one of the major contributors to this trend is the booming e-commerce industry with more and more consumers shopping online.

Hence today it has become a rat race for many logistics companies to bring in more innovative methods and new technologies that will help fast transportation, and not only that the packaging section has also become an integral part of this entire emergency. The entire focus has now shifted to how well can a company implement its best resources in successfully enticing consumers so that they can keep coming back more often.

It has become a very diverse world of operations filled with cut-throat competition as your competitors are just beside you, maybe a click away. It definitely is not that easy to get things on the right track as carrying out logistics operations have to be precise within a very limited time span.

Let us now take a deep dive into understanding the many challenges shippers face based on the ever growing and changing expectations of the consumers and how well one can blend the right technology that will help companies do better in conquering the last mile delivery obstacles.

Customer Expectations :
It is all about satisfying your customers to the fullest and the most challenging elements of all are that the likes and preferences of your customers keep changing. This is a major problem as companies have to be able to keep up with the demands and adapt accordingly that too quickly. It is about giving the intended experiences to the customers and one of the most desired of all being, meeting the transit times for their shipments. The challenge for logistics companies is how well they can do it in the most cost-effective manner still making a profit. That as of today has started getting harder and harder.

Competing with bigger players :

It is the time of biggies with names international names like Amazon, Walmart all sizing up and claiming a major market share and worse these giants have started competing with each other on the same day delivery and shortened delivery cycles. The inherent concern is in such a scenario is there space for mid-sized players or retailer to even be a part of the market?And if so then they are left with the greatest challenge being to either equal to the performance scales of these companies or to exceed them which seems rather unlikely.

Small inventory origin :
Companies with lesser or small inventory origin face a major problem as they are limited with last mile solutions at their disposal. The direct effect is that they aren’t in a position to provide a better customer experience in a cost-effective manner.

Let us now focus on what strategy a shipper can implement in getting ahead of these above challenges. One of the biggest solutions can be to ascertain how one can implement the best possible technology and strategy on final mile delivery as this is the point where companies can get as close as possible to their customers.

Omni Channel Inventory approach :
As getting the goods to the customers is the biggest challenges shippers have to be able to maximize the number of inventory sources and the best way to achieve that is to adopt an omnichannel inventory approach. Having last mile services that will be apt to provide the best customer experiences is the perfect solution and to have that in place retailers can create a center inventory and a store inventory. The advantage for the company would be that even if the company has a good number of stores the order origin is now much closer to its wide customers.

This not only gives the company the leverage of executing their orders directly from their manufacturing facilities but also via third party logistics providers.

Order management system(OMS):
Ensuring whether the inventory is currently at the right place is a huge task which involves accurate planning and data accumulation to access the requirements. Hence it goes without saying that a good Order Management System is of utmost importance. This is a very critical area as it is of high importance to have the required stock in hand when there is an order to be met. A good OMS can give a high level of confidence to the shipper as he can be certain of the availability of the inventory when most needed. Proper integration of the retailer POS with the OMS should be given top priority as it can avoid a scenario of selling an item and then finding out that the last one of the store shelf was sold out.

Ensuring orders met with reallocation:
What if an order has to be met with a cutoff for same day shipment. If its a busy day at the store then the order most likely get pushed to the next day. The OMS should have a capability wherein the order is sent or reallocated to another inventory source thereby ensuring that the order is considered and met the same day. This will allow shippers to take appropriate actions to ensure that the order to their customers is delivered on time.

Multiple shipping carriers :
It should be a very viable idea to have implemented multiple shipping options with multiple carriers as this will help and support the decision-making process with many more choices and opportunities. It will help to find out the best and lowest cost solutions available that will not only meet customer expectations but also will bring down the cost for the customers. Companies should be able to switch between multiple carriers and take advantage of various last mile services. The logistics industry is going through enormous technological transformations and if quite certain with the kind of technological developments Drones can also be a possible carrier option very soon to come.

Integrated enterprise software :
As everything is going online with more and more E-fillings and E-transactions in place one has to have a full-fledged integrated enterprise software stack that can help move data around the e-commerce components as POS, OMS, WMS and all other resources planning solutions. Having a system with a smooth data flow ad which is congruent and accurate across the entire system gives shippers the much-desired availability of information in real time that gives them the power and the freedom to make changes and decisions in adapting to changes.

Summary :
It is a very competitive environment in business today and everyone is focused on satisfying the customers to the fullest. Attracting the customers and retaining them has become the biggest challenges of all time as if not dealt with correctly and given them the desired experiences then customers today have umpteen choices to make a shift. This is a very critical area for shippers as well as logistic companies as customers today keep evolving with each new customer bringing in newer expectations and the industry getting crowded with newer choices and options, it has started becoming harder to maintain customer loyalty. Implementing the right technological resources with perfect planning and execution will only help shippers in getting their product to the customers on time and thereby help them in retaining customers.

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