Carriers have made a business to business delivery a science; however, the trends of eCommerce, crowdsourcing and same-day delivery have turned last-mile delivery upside-down. With the expansion of e-commerce businesses, innovation is also reaching its peak with an increase in delivery speed. Supply chain companies perfect their fulfilment processes to find profitable ways to deliver products to customers.
The innovation has been stimulated too much extent by amazon prime. Its growing service is changing consumer expectations. Delivery to individuals is more expensive and inefficient than delivery to businesses. And customers demand faster and cheaper deliveries. The carriers and suppliers take individual packages to spare populated areas, and in a lot of cases, the receiver of the package is not at home. However, the last-mile delivery services are working to its peak to meet customer expectations.
Following are the nine trends that are affecting last-mile deliveries:
Focus on visibility
Traditional carriers have made many improvements in the industry, including traceability, providing customers with the proof of delivery and tracking information. At times, last-mile local and regional delivery organizations don’t have the technology to provide that information. Traceability has become an important aspect of monitoring data in last-mile deliveries. However, smartphones these days have made everything a lot easier than ever before. Through GPS tracking, customers can see where the driver or the package is.
Companies are experiencing a substantial increase in consumer demand for same-day deliveries. The companies face challenges in terms of planning for the deliveries that they usually had an hour of preparation, now have to be ready in minutes. For example, in pharmaceutical and food deliveries, customers expect delivery time to be as soon as possible. The competition increases even in terms of speed. As soon as the order arrives, it has to be processed and ready to go to meet the customers’ expectations.
Driverless cars, drones and robots
These futuristic delivery options are being developed and tested, but they are not a trend yet. However, they are going to arrive in the industry sooner or later. If this idea executes and works out, it will radically change the game. At present, the deliveries are limited by the cost of labour, availability and shifts. If robotic delivery hits the market, it can be done 24 hours a day. However, due to regulatory limits and operational problems, drone deliveries may have limited use in highly urbanized areas.
Intelligent technology and sensor
Probes and other monitoring devices are placed in the packages. In order to control every aspect of the fulfilment and delivery process, customers want to track temperature-sensitive items they ordered. Monitoring devices and probes are placed in the packages. This way, the pharmaceutical company, alcoholic beverages or frozen foods manufacturers will know the temperature of the probe and probably the humidity level at each step. This helps them keep track of their goods and take safety measures in case of any damage; this is becoming an industry standard. Even fulfilment centres use weather data for planning and to add additional packaging materials that can help control climate change effect or changes in temperature. Once it is done, carriers use the data collected to determine an appropriate route.
City warehouses give organizations easy access to products for quick deliveries to customers. It plays a significant role in increasing the speed of delivery or transit time. Amazon is leading in this aspect. Large stores offer delivery in two to three days for a minimum order, while Amazon offers delivery in two hours to the Amazon Prime Now customers.
Carrier becomes the seller
The mobile warehouse concept is getting popular each passing day. With Big Data, retailers can predict what more a customer might want. The fulfiller can load inventory onto delivery trucks; this allows the drivers to increase sales during the delivery process. Just as E-commerce websites show customers additional products they may like during the checkout process, the last mile courier service can bring items that the consumer has ordered in the past or may need or want by processing a possible additional order in person. This works very well with all E-commerce businesses.
Evolving postal services
Traditional carriers such as post offices are gradually growing and changing little by little. The increase in e-commerce package delivery and reduction in conventional letters and mail delivery could not happen at a better time. Since the e-commerce carrier goes to one-stop anyway, adding a package to home delivery is only an additional cost to the courier company.
These trends show how the different players in the supply chain are actively trying to improve the last-mile services in order to keep up with customer expectations. Additionally, the futuristic autonomous devices and eco-friendly shipping are contributing to sustainable living.