Today’s spotlight is on last-mile delivery — and there’s good reason for that.
On April 1, I was delighted to join my fellow industry peer, Adrian Gonzalez, to dive into the details around last-mile delivery in the Omnitracs webinar, What Will Separate the Leaders from the Laggards?
Being involved in the industry for many years, I can see how the last mile is ripe for change and innovation and, in fact, has been pushed into innovation over the past 12 months.
The last mile is more valuable today than ever before
Delivery has become a new moment of truth, reflecting how customers feel about the product, business, and experience they’re gaining from every transaction. Everything can go perfectly on the front-end of a sales process. Still, a tarnished delivery experience involving damaged items or frustrated drivers can effectively cause a negative response, jeopardizing your customer’s business relationship with you and negating all the positive experiences they’ve developed with your brand.
As such, industry innovators are continuing to recognize how closely delivery is linked to the customer experience. While focusing on the customer is certainly not a new concept, our approach and priority points are rapidly changing. As customer needs grow, from rising two-day delivery expectations to seamless proactive communication, so does demand and the need to orchestrate a successful delivery. It is so much more than distributing a package or load. With the digital age comes more products, more competition, more technology, and more convenience. So, for businesses to stand out and retain and attract loyal customers, they must ensure that the logistics of how customers receive their loads are as harmonious and enjoyable as possible.
What our survey results reveal
We worked with Adrian Gonzales and surveyed supply chain and logistics professionals to discover their insights around last-mile delivery.
Unsurprisingly, the customer experience is the number one factor driving innovation in last-mile delivery.
Interestingly, when we asked our survey respondents what the most significant cost drivers in the supply chain were, last-mile delivery led the bunch by a whopping 41%.
Why is last-mile delivery so expensive? Many cost factors in the last mile, including driver salary and insurance premiums, continue to rise over time. Free delivery is a nonexistent concept. It costs money to be able to execute a free delivery promise successfully. The winners — or leaders and not laggards — in the free delivery and customer experience games will be the ones who deliver an enhanced experience profitably while managing the cost side of the equation.
What separates the leaders from the laggards
As Adrian pointed out in the webinar, “The best drivers of innovation are your customers.” To indeed be a success story in the last-mile delivery world, look to your customers to see and understand what they’re looking for. Also, maintain open and productive communication with your drivers and teams — those who are using the solutions you’re investing in — to continue growing your business. Sometimes the best innovative ideas come from employees in the field.
When examining customer needs, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What are their unique business needs?
- What can you provide to keep their operations running smoothly?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then examine your approach to better support your customer’s unique business goals and your business objectives. We should look no further than the pandemic for a strong analogy here. When COVID-19 first shook up our industry and world, trucks went off the grid overnight. Thanks to the invaluable visibility from quality and digestible data, companies could drive efficiencies back into their business and stay afloat.
In a world of ever-moving wheels and endless loads, it’s easy to get carried away with too much technology or fall into comfortable strategies that limit necessary business innovation and competitive evolution. Our industry is on the go, so we may naturally pivot to believing we have to make a thousand changes right this moment or not bother at all. A successful last-mile strategy falls somewhere in the middle of utilizing smart technology and stepping up business objectives, so you can secure your place as a transportation leader in the last mile and beyond.
Adrian and I had such a great time chatting about this topic! I highly encourage you to watch the entire webinar for more survey results, distinctive breakdowns, and thoughtful dialogue around the last-mile experience.