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Last-mile delivery has become an integral part of the rapidly developing supply chain and the eCommerce industry of online shopping. A recent research study by Statista indicates that the revenues of the eCommerce industry are projected to reach $3.64 trillion by the end of 2023, with an annual growth rate of 11.17%.
These developments in customer demand have led to the need for logistics software solutions for better and more efficient last-mile logistics operations optimization. So, it’s the perfect time for startups and enterprises in the logistics and transportation sectors to invest in this technology for better revenue generation and sales growth.
Delivery is among the most critical phases for a company as it can make or break the customer relationship. That’s why it is evident to implement a last-mile delivery strategy, also known as last-mile logistics, which is the transportation of products from a distribution center to a customer’s doorstep. It seeks to deliver packages in an affordable, fast, and precise manner.
Last-mile delivery can be defined as the transportation of products from a distribution center to a customer’s doorstep. It is the final phase in the delivery process.
In simpler terms, the main aim of last-mile delivery technology is to ensure that orders make it to their final destination in time, eventually resulting in a good customer experience. As the growing demand for online shopping grows in today’s world, last-mile delivery is now more than a strategy. It’s a need for every company.
In this scenario, software that manages all the operations in logistics and transportation can help owners meet their business objectives. On-demand logistic management app development has proven as an excellent tool for businesses trying to remain competitive and fulfill the expanding customer expectations in the digital era.
However, implementing last-mile logistics is viewed as the most challenging step in the delivery process. Delivering the products to the doorstep in a timely, cheapest price possible, and efficient way remains a challenge for different supply partners. This challenge is often referred to as the last-mile problem.
Last-mile challenge is prevalent in delivering goods from the warehouse to end users’ residential areas, especially in cities and suburbs. It is difficult for most companies in the supply chain to make deliveries on time at minimal cost and with efficiency.
For example, online shopping is primarily on the rise during the festive seasons, where the number of packages to be delivered increases. Delivery companies must have the flexibility to cope with such fluctuations by being ready to ramp up operations when they experience heavy flow of product delivery demands and call for additional support from outside sources whenever they are overwhelmed with orders.
So, what’s the way out? It is technology solutions tailored to specific business needs that come as a breakthrough remedy for such hassles.
Before we look at the technology solutions that help to get the best out of the last-mile delivery process let us first have a look at the how the last-mile delivery benefits the businesses
Undoubtedly, the rise of advanced technology, such as AI and Machine Learning, has revolutionized the way businesses have incorporated an efficient last-mile delivery strategy in their processes. Many logistics businesses have gained huge list of benefits with last-mile delivery process.
Following are some significant impacts that technology solutions can have on last-mile deliveries:
Last-mile delivery involves streamlining delivery by integrating technologies and strategies that facilitate the mobilization of products from distribution centers to end users. Automation of sorting and packing procedures in distribution centers is among the methods of streamlining deliveries.
For instance, automated conveyor systems, robots or robotic arms, and barcode scanning technologies are prevalent nowadays. Using these technologies significantly improves order processing efficiency, reducing chances of error and ensuring packages are ready for courier services quickly.
For streamlined delivery, such features can be a part of a customized solution like a freight management system where you can integrate automation and digitization of documents, carrier management, real-time tracking, and many more.
Another advanced solution that technology offers is faster and fuel-efficient route planning. Indirect or long routes are a major reason for massive slowdowns in the last mile, resulting in fuel wastage and late deliveries. So, implementing fuel-efficient route planning reduces travel hours, enabling companies to deliver parcels on time to their customers.
Similarly, the design of fuel-efficient routing cuts down costs and helps reduce harmful gas emissions, as well as paves the way for innovative services such as in-demand 10-minute delivery. Reducing fuel usage, less off-track traveling and saving money help companies reduce their carbon footprint, thus leading to a more sustainable solution.
Many eCommerce companies invest their resources into automation technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) to tackle last-mile delivery tasks. The use of IoT technology for supply chain management in almost all sectors, including warehousing and delivery is not uncommon today. For example, IoT-based sensors, as well as the analytics of received data, enable one to get crucial details about the state of roads, traffic flows in certain areas, weather changes, etc.
There are various types of IoT sensors that together form efficient IoT systems, a part of which are embedded in automotives. These systems and IoT applications are capable of identifying possible malfunctions and failures, hence scheduling repairs early enough. In some cases, predictive maintenance using these IoT systems can minimize last-mile delivery costs, resulting in budget maintenance and overall efficiency.
Real-time GPS tracking gives your customer more information about the last-mile delivery process. Customers may track their delivery and receive real-time updates on their delivery status. It enhances customer satisfaction by reducing dilemmas, as they can track the shipment status and know when to expect the orders.
To know the whereabouts of a parcel, delivery partner, or delivery vehicles, importance of GPS tracking for logistic business cannot be overstated as it aids in ensuring accurate tracing of the shipment. Customers can use it to check that their orders follow the desired course. Tracking a shipment can point out any irregularities during deliveries, thus enabling companies to solve them and avert last-mile delivery dilemmas quickly.
AI technology trends are revolutionizing the business scenario. It is interesting to see how organizations handle and make the most of their last-mile deliveries, especially in app-based logistics. Particularly, mobile app-based systems employ machine learning models and computational statistics for more reliable and fast deliveries.
Predictive analytics and location technology in an AI powdered last-mile delivery software help make data-driven insights for better order tracking and transparency. The AI-powered systems can make predictions based on historical data and improve upon them over time. So, companies can get better forecasts of future demand and estimate delivery time.
Smart lockers are one of the most impactful last-mile logistics technologies that provide a means of last-mile delivery which also works well for suppliers and end users. These lockers serve to help in the shipping of last-mile parcels by online retailers.
The company can offer durable lockers usually placed at bus stops, shopping malls, and shops, and customers may collect parcels at their convenience. This enhances the delivery process’s security and transparency among the customers.
Smart lockers also enable secure storage of parcels if the customer cannot pick up the order instantly. As recently as 2022, 67% of Americans said their packages were stolen. Rather than putting their parcels out in the open, couriers deliver them straight into a secure smart locker system comprising lockers with durable steel systems.
Predictive analysis is another technology that improves last-mile delivery for businesses. Predictive solutions such as supply and demand forecasting help in making proactive operational decisions for companies.
Data scientists use machine learning and deep learning algorithms to analyze information to detect related patterns, thereby enabling predictions and obtaining insights for future events.
Another essential use case for predictive delivery involves optimizing time predictions in parcel shipping. It is essential because it helps customers to plan their day by knowing when their packages will arrive.
According to Statista, the drone delivery market is anticipated to reach $1.6 billion in size by 2023. Given that an aerial drone is high-speed in covering significant distances and relatively cheaper than using road vehicles, it would be suitable for quick delivery of parcels over very short to average distances.
Adopting last-mile technology for business in the form of drone delivery systems is revolutionizing the speed and cost-effectiveness of last-mile logistics, offering rapid deliveries to customers and significant operational efficiencies to companies.
Introducing aerial technology dramatically reduces delivery periods because drones can make deliveries in significantly less time than usual delivery processes. An example of automation in delivery currently is Amazon’s Prime Air automated delivery service using drones. This is a service where packages can be delivered to customers in about 30 minutes through a small drone guided by GPS to the delivery location.
Looking forward, it’s clear that technologies and advanced tools will continue influencing the last-mile delivery processes. Developing innovative solutions means that the last mile challenges are now seen as an area where companies could distinguish their operations by using innovative technologies to improve the final stage of the delivery process.
So, companies can increase their operational excellence and profitability, as well as that of the highly critical and technologically savvy modern consumers. In the end, the future of last-mile delivery is technology-driven with new ways of eCommerce and logistic businesses for both the business and customer side.
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