The term “last mile delivery” describes the final stage of the delivery process, when goods are transported from a distribution center or fulfillment center to the end customer. Given this stage’s importance, entrepreneurs and business owners must take steps to optimize their last-mile delivery services. The industry is worth well over $100 billion and is expected to reach $200 billion by 2028.
Despite the ridiculous growth this sub-industry of logistics is experiencing, there is still a lot of competition. Businesses are looking for any advantage to optimize their delivery services and save on costs.
As customers increasingly demand faster delivery times, businesses must find ways to shorten transit time while maintaining low costs. Here are some ways you can start doing that.
Improve warehouse operations
One of the essential aspects of last-mile delivery is efficient warehouse operations. Here are various ways you can start improving your warehouse operations.
Robots have been around for quite some time now. Big companies like Amazon have over 500,000 robots in service. They are used in the picking and packing process. Robots significantly improve accuracy and efficiency in the warehouse. They can also help to reduce labor costs. So if you own a distribution center, robots can drastically increase its efficiency overnight.
Many managed service providers can help you with your warehouse operations. These companies will take care of all the logistics to focus on your core business. In addition, they can help you with order fulfillment, inventory management, and transportation.
Outsource to a 3PL
If you don’t have the resources to manage your warehouse operations, you can always outsource to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. 3PLs are companies that provide logistics services to businesses. They can help you with warehousing, transportation, and even cross-docking services. Big last mile delivery services often do this to reduce their expenses.
There are several software solutions available that can help you streamline your last-mile delivery operations. Investing in one or more keys can help you improve efficiencies and manage your resources. Here are some great technologies you can use to improve your company.
Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is software that helps you manage your warehouse inventory and operations. It can automate many tasks involved in running a warehouse, such as order picking, put-away, and tracking inventory levels.
Transportation Management Software (TMS)
A Transportation Management System (TMS) is software that helps businesses plan, execute, and optimize their transportation operations. For example, it can help you choose the best route, select the right carrier, and track your shipments.
Develop and Train Carriers
In order to deliver orders on time and within budget, it’s essential to develop strong relationships with carriers who can provide dependable service. Make sure to research and choose carriers with a proven track record of success. Additionally, you can choose to get them trained. You can enroll them in driver courses to lessen their chances of getting into an accident and improve their delivery time. A driving improvement course can help your drivers achieve these goals. The course covers proper vehicle maintenance, speed management, and defensive driving techniques. These are all essential in helping your couriers deliver on time while keeping costs low.
Stay up to date on industry trends
The world of logistics is constantly changing, so it’s essential to stay abreast of industry trends to make informed decisions about your last-mile delivery operations. Reading trade publications, attending industry events, and networking with other professionals can all help you stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of logistics. Here are a few trends you need to know right now.
One of the biggest trends in logistics is the rise of self-driving vehicles. These vehicles are also known as autonomous or driverless vehicles. They’re outfitted with sensors and software that allow them to find their way on their own.. Many experts believe that self-driving vehicles will revolutionize the logistics industry. They have the potential to reduce shipping costs and delivery times drastically.
The Internet of Things
Another big trend in logistics is the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT refers to a network of devices connected to the internet. These devices can collect and share data. This data can be used to improve logistics operations. For example, IoT-enabled devices can track shipments, monitor inventory levels, and predict traffic patterns.
Be prepared for challenges
No matter how well you plan, there will always be challenges regarding last-mile delivery. But, whether it’s severe weather conditions, traffic congestion or an unexpected influx of orders, being prepared for challenges will help you overcome them when they arise.
Last-mile delivery is a critical part of the logistics process, so optimizing your operation for success is essential. By following the best practices outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your last-mile delivery operation is as efficient and effective as possible.