Using Actionable Real-Time Visibility to Impact the Consumer Experience
Across the globe, the hot topic in boardrooms has been improving supply chains and getting products into the hands of consumers. Utilizing technology has become vitally important to improving both last-mile delivery and the end consumer’s experience with a brand. There are important costs for a brand to consider associated with a bad last-mile delivery experience. Using real-time visibility and making it actionable can revolutionize your consumer’s experience.
Consumer Experience, Control, and Costs
Last-mile delivery is the only touchpoint between a retailer and the end customer. The delivery determines the consumer’s experience with a brand. Thanks to the Amazon effect, consumers want to choose how and when they receive a delivery. They want to be able to change the delivery time if needed and be in control of how their order gets to their doorstep.
There are three costs associated with the consumer experience that retailers must consider: the cost of delivery, speed, and a bad experience. All three need to be considered to improve customer experience.
Retailers must invest in the cost of delivery. Today’s consumers want their orders quickly, but they don’t want to pay for it. The cost of speed also defines the customer experience. Shoppers will leave a retailer if they can’t offer the same speed of delivery as their competitors. Finally, there is the cost associated with a bad customer experience. A single bad experience can potentially mean losing a customer and their lifetime value to the brand.
How important is end-to-end visibility?
In the supply chain, the cost of data has decreased dramatically over the past few years. Companies now have an option to more accurately know where a shipment is along its journey. End-to-end visibility optimizes and improves efficiencies throughout the logistics ecosystem.
With real-time visibility, brands now have an option to know where a shipment is more accurately and if that order will be on time. With visibility, a brand can track an order, measure its delivery performance, and improve it. Visibility is essential to both a brand and the end consumers, who increasingly demand to know where their packages are, and when they will be delivered.
For example, Hilti, a company that manufactures products, systems, software, and services for the construction and energy industry, experienced multiple issues with customers due to a lack of real-time visibility. Hilti could not communicate in real-time the movement of shipments once they left the warehouse or any delays in freight movement. The lack of delivery transparency meant Hilti could only react to issues as they happened, rather than help prevent them, which led to lower customer experience scores.
By adding automation and machine-learning algorithms, Hilti was able to provide an Amazon-like experience for its customers by improving freight traceability, visibility, and customer transparency. Hilti increased productivity by 12-15% across stakeholders in sales and the supply chain team and had a 6% increase in on-time-in-full (OTIF) deliveries. Their delivery processes became 100% automated.
How can visibility be actionable?
Connecting multiple siloed systems through technology solutions is the key to creating end-to-end visibility. From a consumer’s perspective, when they order a product, they want a specific delivery date and time slot. How does a brand predict what time they will be able to deliver that product? You must have real-time visibility in order to determine where a product is and to be able to offer delivery time slots. Predictability is based on visibility.
Visibility is great, but how can it be made actionable? With real-time visibility, if a brand is aware of exceptions for a delivery, they can make changes. Having that information allows them to be proactive and make decisions that impact both the financial bottom line and the end consumer’s satisfaction. Having real-time visibility and being able to make actionable decisions is the future of supply chain operations.
Supply Chain and Logistics in the Future
We are living in an era where it’s less about what you deliver and more about how you deliver it.
It’s about cost, convenience, and ultimately about the end consumer’s experience. Today, every company needs to be a logistics or transportation company, irrespective of the business you are in.
A brand needs to own the experience of the consumer and to do that, every brand needs to be a transportation or logistics company. It doesn’t matter if you own your own fleet or utilize a carrier network. As long as you have technology solutions that connect the various systems and allow them to flow seamlessly, that is the key.
Supply chains are in the forefront of every brand’s consciousness. Much goes on behind the scenes of each brand’s supply chains, which should begin with technology and provide real-time visibility to enhance the end consumer’s experience. Being able to make real-time actionable decisions will impact not only your bottom line but it will also impact consumer satisfaction with your brand.