How Can Logistics Teams Streamline Delivery Operations?
Firstly you might be thinking, well why do I need to streamline my delivery operations, everything seems to be running fine! Well have you considered the time spent at every step of the process and while you’re evaluating, make note of home much time is being wasted at each step!
Now don’t fret, this is common.
Poorly planned delivery operations contribute to not just wasted time but also high cost, low successful deliveries, unhappy drivers & disgruntled customers. With online shopping soaring in recent years (73% of customers admit to ordering more since the onset of Covid19), more and more consumers are opting for home delivery. Consumer’s high expectations are often based on the outcome of the final leg of delivery – the last mile. Everything from how they are notified of their delivery – to receiving their order, all of this is considered in evaluating the delivery experience.
When delivery operations are running optimally you will have visibility over your entire delivery operation, potential to take trucks off the road with deliveries being more accurate and the ability to scale your delivery operations much easier.
What’s the Knock on of Poor Delivery Operations?
Without the use of technology, delivery operations can become inefficient. Manually planning routes, calling customers one-by-one and drivers backtracking can be a huge strain on resources. Manually planned delivery routes that are inefficient or problematic don’t announce themselves. In fact, it can be very hard to identify the root cause of inefficient routes that have been created manually. Other common issues that we have seen occur as a result of poor delivery operations have been:
- Mistakes in routes planner due to human error.
- Fuel wasted on unnecessarily long routes or where drivers have to back and forth.
- Higher cost compared to automated route planning due to the cost of labor for a time intensive process.
- Limitations in humans analyzing data meaning that routes won’t be optimal.
- Without software there is no real time visibility on your drivers making it difficult to track delivery operations and identify issues along routes.
- Customers leave to competition who make the delivery process seamless for the end recipient.
- Increased spend on fuel through drivers having to backtrack on the route from poorly planned routes.
- Times wasted contacting customers for delivery instructions.
- Lack of oversight on drivers in the fields means you can’t pinpoint inefficiencies leading to waste.
- Failure to harness automation can lead to slow deliveries, missed delivery deadlines can then lead to customers cancelling their orders and buying from competition.
- If customers are not kept informed of their delivery, they can be left with uncertainty and frustration.
How Can Delivery Operations Be Streamlined?
Embrace technology – there are many delivery management apps on the market. While many share similarities, some will have features that cater more to specific business tasks than others. By implementing intelligent routing systems, you can significantly reduce time spent on planning by eliminating manual route planning, significantly reducing the time spent contacting customers for delivery information, and reducing customer queries by sending customers live tracking information where they can track their delivery as it makes its way to them.
Make sure to look out for the following when doing your research:
- Automated Route Planning and Optimisation: poor planning of last mile deliveries can increase your overall logistical costs by 20-40% making your operations unprofitable. Poor planning leads to long time windows and missed deliveries resulting in customer churn. Using delivery planning software solves this problem for you. Reduction in the administrative overhead of planning routes frees up your time. Route optimisation algorithms will reduce cost per delivery significantly compared to traditional planning and allow you to factor in complex variables like time windows, load balancing, zonal territories and even vehicle variables to avoid missed deliveries and deadlines. Vehicles leaving the depot fully loaded results in greater profitability.
- Proof of Delivery Capturing Capability: capture proof of delivery by e-signature, photo or barcode scan, for total security and compliance. Automate email confirmation to customers or to the relevant ERP system. This helps in case customers can’t find their package and it can be easily shown where the package was placed. POD can also be captured through e-signatures for products that must be handed over to the recipient in person. This tool is incredibly useful for reporting purposes. Also if customers need to check anything once the delivery is made, all of the information is there as to who received the order and where it was placed.
- Automated Notifications: customer demands are ever changing but one thing that remains consistent is their increasing expectations associated with deliveries. Ensuring customers get their products without having to follow up with your business is one of the most fundamental parts of a great delivery experience. Stay in constant contact with your customers over the last- mile with delivery notifications and updates by text or email. Automate the customer support requirements and provide certainty to customers. Reduce delivery windows and increase delivery hit rates to decrease cost per delivery and reduce customer churn.
- Delivery Driver App: make sure you give your drivers the right tools to help them get their deliveries completed in good time. The app allows drivers to keep track of deliveries and opens up avenues of communication with the customer and office staff. With GPS driver tracking delivery managers can easily track and coordinate drivers in the field.
Implementing a smart solution for logistics planning, such as SmartRoutes, saves teams time and money with increased efficiency and reduced fuel costs. You will also increase control and insights into your last-mile operations. Delivery route planning software can optimise last mile deliveries through smart work allocation. This saves valuable time that you can spend on other parts of your business. Deliveries are loaded into vehicles in the order that they will be delivered to ensure maximum efficiency thus ensuring more accurate deliveries.