September 2021 | Commentary | Last Mile

Efficiency Lives Where Technology and Human Intelligence Intersect

Tags: Warehousing, Labor Management, Technology

Technology can make a difference in every aspect of the supply chain when used correctly. The combination of quality talent, technology, and the human touch quickly brings about improved efficiency, increased transparency, and limited freight damage.

Mark Fierek, Vice President Sales, Pilot Last Mile Home, 651-365-8196

The surge in e-commerce shipments throughout the pandemic highlighted the benefits of software solutions that help logistics providers scale up quickly to meet customers' needs and improve communication. As manufacturers struggle to meet demand, the time lag between purchase and delivery sets the stage for anxious consumers expecting a flawless experience.

Acknowledging these challenges is critical for last-mile providers to communicate realistic delivery schedules and set expectations while maintaining the client's brand integrity. When efficient scheduling processes are used, the reschedule rate is typically less than 2%.

Setting the Standard

Over the past decade, demand for quick and efficient home deliveries has become the shipping standard. The volume of freight being shipped and processed for last-mile delivery continues to break records every year, with 2020 the most significant year to date.

That increase, combined with ongoing pandemic-related disruptions in the supply chain, has created substantial stress on warehouse managers, drivers, and customer service divisions.

For third-party logistics providers, software-driven optimized driving routes create the most efficient itineraries for last-mile deliveries. These solutions are critical to map, schedule, and provide customer transparency through shipment tracking, automated alerts, and photo proof of delivery.

These features help keep consumers informed, limit customer service issues, and provide accurate, real-time data to meet the demand for on-time and successful delivery. However, relying solely on technology is not the complete answer.

Technology is one half of the secret to creating an efficient shipping experience. The other half is the human element. Hiring the right people to manage warehouses and implement technology solutions is key to managing an efficient supply chain.

A positive customer experience is shaped and enhanced through transparent communication and positive interaction with professional drivers as the last touchpoint.

Worth the Extra Step

In addition to handling freight properly and with extreme care, reviewing the product before it leaves the warehouse has distinct advantages. When value-added services such as inspection, deluxing, and light repair are used, there is a 98.7% clear proof of delivery (stick rate) in the home on the first attempt. This extra step in the warehouse can save time and money in the final stage of delivery.

Leveraging technology and applying a data-driven approach allows logistics providers to measure specific KPIs and hold their teams accountable. Shippers are looking to reduce the number of carriers that touch their products and have the ability to scale to meet their unique needs.

Implementing software solutions with trained employees helps logistics providers meet their clients' needs, resulting in improved efficiency, positively impacting the bottom line and profits for both the provider and shipper.






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