The logistics industry is developing incredibly fast. In this era of speed, buying online has become so convenient that no matter how large or how expensive your purchase is, deliveries come to your door, in the comfort of your own home. As consumers, the level of expectation is high and on the rise. Our extraordinary gift as consumers is that we can achieve this within seconds by reaching for our phone, and within a few taps, everything will be in order! In short, we are living like royalty! Last-mile logistics is a hot button topic, and for that reason, Last Mile Carrier Tracking is essential in most cases.
From the business side, however, there is a different story. A release from Cision PRWeb illustrates this business imperative clearly:
Among the most important findings is that 60% of consumers reported they have decided not to purchase from a retailer due to slow delivery speed.
It’s the story of increasing competition and complexity. Human nature will dictate that we always want more: we want things to be more accurate, faster deliveries while having more features. This fact is the reason why smart companies focus on user experience.
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What is Last-Mile Tracking?
Last-mile delivery is a logistic concept used to describe the transfer and the movement of the package from the depot or the distribution center to the intended destination, e.g., the customer’s home or office. The purpose is to deliver as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible.
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Last-mile tracking, therefore, is how we monitor and follow the delivery of products to their end locations. The two considerations are from the business standpoint and the customer standpoint.
Why Is Last-Mile Tracking Important?
The point of a business is to grow and prosper. To achieve that goal, a company must now respond to customers’ high expectations, preferences, and demands. Not all individuals are patient and content with the transit time their packages take to be delivered; some are obsessed with the idea of tracking the whereabouts of their parcels. Usually, after placing your orders online, an email with the item tracking information is immediately sent to you. When the tracking information shows “out for delivery,” this mostly refers to the final step of getting your order.
The most crucial part of the carrier industry is last-mile delivery. It’s the part that consumers are looking to expectantly. As mentioned, this is why last-mile logistics is creating a buzz in business fulfillment. As noted above 60% of consumers reported a nonrepeat purchase following slow delivery. If we believe these numbers, that means that businesses who don’t have an adequate last-mile delivery and tracking system are standing to lose massive amounts of money.
The other side of the equation is that there is a premium to be made when offering high-quality last-mile delivery and tracking. Studies show that 25% of consumers are willing to pay extra money for same-day delivery services. It is worth noting that last-mile delivery is not the same in every business. Yet, quick deliveries are essential for all to take seriously.
When it comes to shipping services, the last mile is most likely the most ineffectual and the most expensive aspect of the fulfillment phase for most carrier businesses. Yet, a lot of companies are sparing no effort trying to change this.
This article from Inc.com leaves no room for interpretation: to be successful, one must invest in perfecting the last mile: “Your 2018 growth plan should include methods to optimize order fulfillment.”
In this article, inc.com names three main contributing factors to customer satisfaction:
- Fast Shipping: For 97% of customers, rapid delivery is at least somewhat important (and 40% say it’s very important).
- Transparency: This relates to tracking. 97% of customers say they want to be able to monitor and follow their order status from one step to another. They have similar standards for customer service.
- Simple Returns: As e-commerce stores have a higher return rate, the simplicity of the returns is paramount for all orders made through online service providers.
A few last considerations are the waiting times to deliver something to someone in areas or destinations that are off the beaten path. Companies need to take precautions to decrease the risk of cost and to serve these communities.
The Two Sides of Last Mile Tracking
As the adage goes, there are always two sides to every coin. The saying also applies to last mile delivery tracking. Most of us (or all of us) are consumers, so we often tend to look at the customer-facing side of the equation. However, the other side of the equation has to do with the business operations themselves, in other words, to the essential internal tracking system. Let’s have a look at them both.
1. Internal Tracking of The Last Mile Delivery
Delivery is a highly competitive industry. For this reason, companies ensure that internal processes are streamlined, contain no blind spots in their supply chain, and are efficient. These elements are incredibly crucial throughout the last mile operations.
The most significant factor for building a trustworthy business is visibility. To build a customer-focused supply chain, both clarity of the final mile phase and internal tracking need to be well-implemented.
The internal last mile tracking increases running efficiency and enhances profitability by reducing inefficiencies, so it’s not just about the customer-facing visibility and notifications. For instance, we can track a driver or a service arriving at a certain calculated distance from where they last delivered using geo-fencing.
When you combine both accurate tracking and machine learning, business owners can get more insightful data on how they can manage their routing and customer ratings, and they can come up with delivery routes theories and test them. And here, we can sense the significance of internal routing. It can provide directors with the needed visibility for their supply chain, and it can also help enhance the customers’ experience.
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2. The Customers Experience of Last Mile Tracking
Optimizing the customers’ experience and fulfillment is indeed a critical goal of any existing business. The tricky part of today’s world is access to unlimited information regarding all aspects of a purchasing decision, the best product prices, as well as the best shipping possibilities.
Last mile tracking from a customer’s point of view is crucial as it gives a sense of control over their delivery service experience, and it also boosts the tracing of their shipments. Businesses can decide to enable their customers to use tracking features. This way, it provides them with the much-appreciated freedom to observe the use of their time without needing to worry about missing their orders.
Customers now have high expectations of the shipping processes. They now want to have direct communication and real-time data about their orders. They need particular pieces of information about their shipments, such as trackable updates displayed with a truck icon on a map, constant reminders of each step, and a real-time map of exactly where the driver is driving.
Customers’ high expectations are increasing because of the game-changing businesses such as Grubhub or Uber. Customers now want to enjoy the opportunity of rating their delivery experience, and now customers expect to have the same privileges from all types of logistics suppliers. Increasingly, teams of employees are looking to create options for improving that experience.
Technology and Last Mile Tracking
As reference earlier, a majority of business owners know that not being able to meet customer expectations is expensive in the long run. In a highly competitive logistics market, this point illustrates the importance of taking great care of their last mile.
All logistics, last mile, and carrier companies need to invest in technology. Innovation is key. The main challenge is to find ways to replace people with machines and technology. Many view this challenge as an unfortunate and challenging transition for employees. For some families, it means the livelihoods are at risk; they may be losing their jobs. The reality is that this transition is pivotal to improve the accuracy of operations in a logistics company, to use and process vast amounts of data, and to provide excellent quality of customer service.
Organizations should have in their list of priorities the development of top-of-class last mile tracking technology. The technologies are ideally smart technologies and smart updates. The purpose of this to give insights and warn dispatchers automatically of any pending problems they can deal with fast.
An example would be if a driver has diverted from their path, last mile tracking can notify and alert the dispatchers so that they can immediately adjust to the situation. Other solutions provided by last mile tracking include letting the dispatchers know ahead of time if the driver is going to be late. It can inform the customer with that information even before the delay takes place.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will transform carriers and the last mile delivery industry. The industry can apply the network of IoT technologies to freight, supply, scheduling, storage, transportation, and all steps in the chain of last mile delivery. The benefits, of course, is lowered costs, reliability, the efficiency of operations, increase truck capacity, and improved customer experience. In particular, we can see this being very useful in fleet management going forward, where the management of several vehicles will be improved.
The Internet of Things in logistics is becoming the approach to resolving the difficulties in operations that have plagued industry members for 20 years. The trend towards these technologies is increasing. There are many applications of the Internet of Things in logistics. To list a few:
- Inventory tracking: Connecting all warehouses and inventory to a connected delivery system is incredibly important.
- Smart Location: IoT devices allow for tracking of driver activities and create a real-time map and show any changes that occur.
On the customer side, there are many SMS alerts, email notifications, and even Google notifications are all ways to alert both consumers and shippers for every movement a shipment makes. Digitizing and automating the progress of purchases through the whole supply chain is crucial. Overall, last-mile tracking has a high impact, especially when the customers have the opportunity of monitoring their deliveries.
The Optimization of Last-Mile Tracking
If a carrier wants to stay competitive when it comes to last-mile tracking, they will need to optimize their carrier tracking system and platform. First of all, businesses have to start tracking the goods as soon as they load them on the shipping trucks. Next, there needs to be live tracking for both orders and vehicles. When drivers fulfill the orders, there is a need to establish proof of delivery (POD). POD is a way to confirm the successful delivery and the reception of the shipments. The proof of delivery can, for example, be an emailed response letter containing the delivery information, the recipient’s name. Ideally, it will provide the tracking number, an image of the delivered content, and the recipient’s signature.
On the other end, a company must offer client updates. There are a few ways that business does this. One popular medium is to use SMS notifications around the time of delivery. Or you can enable the customers themselves to be able to speak to their delivery driver; if that’s applicable. Carriers can also allow the customers’ smartphones to track the packages with updated ETA. One more good idea is to create a website for anyone to get the information. We see companies like Usps, UPS, and FedEx have these sites for the state of the order.
Moreover, a part of the customer experience optimization is to let customers enjoy the ability to rate their experience. And you got to consider their ratings. As the adage goes, “The customer is always right.”
In a nutshell, modernizing and applying intelligence to your work process across all parts of the supply chain is a crucial step in gathering distribution data. And to further evaluate your business and work on developing it. When you take care of that, it’s much easier to incorporate widgets and tracking apps for all of your corporate needs.
All types of businesses that have a delivery option to customers and who at least a minimal amount of route planning. These businesses include couriers, including all Canadian courier companies, flower shops, rental companies, and many more.
This area of logistics and business can also be called last-mile management system.
AliExpress is a leader in eCommerce digital retail service. They are a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group and are located in China. Their team serves thousands of customers in all countries, including America. They have a last mile tracking service directly on their website.
We hope that this has been useful to give you an overview of tracking for last-mile carriers. We outlined some of the critical items and research from this topic. Our purpose was to provide you with a broad general overview of the subject. We also know this is a trying time with coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 challenges. If there are any issues of any kind that we can help with, please tell us. As always, we are your partner, so please let us know if we missed anything, if you have a request, and if you have questions or feedback on related posts in this field.