With the rise in online shopping, businesses continuously seek ways to improve their supply chains. A significant component in the shipping and logistics of a company is its last-mile delivery process.
It is the ultimate stage in a delivery chain where the product is delivered to the buyer's address. But sometimes, challenges arise during the last mile delivery process that causes problems for online businesses.
By 2027, the transportation industry's last-mile delivery services are projected to reach 424.35 billion dollars. Diversified adoption and technological advancements are key factors propelling its market growth.
This makes it vital for logistics providers to factor in the significant challenges they encounter and make conscious efforts to solve them.
8 Last-Mile Delivery Problems And Their Solutions
Here are some of the most prevailing challenges that come with last-mile delivery and ways to overcome them.
Challenge 1 – Delayed Delivery
Several elements can hinder a smooth delivery process, leaving your customers frustrated and irritated.
Your buyers are less tolerant of the ever-evolving logistical issues. The delays in last-mile deliveries can be a significant concern for them, especially in this fast-paced age of same-day deliveries.
Multiple factors can affect the last-mile deliveries, such as transport glitches, road closure, etc. Missed or late deliveries are commonplace, and businesses need to strike a balance between prompt deliveries and customer satisfaction.
While unforeseen delays are inevitable, you can try and appease your customers by handling possible grievances with some timely diplomacy and prompt replies. Here communication and transparency play a defining role in keeping your customers satisfied and calm.
Involve them in the process and journey of delivery. That way, you give them the scope to keep track of their deliveries and get in touch with their respective delivery person.
Be upfront about everything related to their deliveries so that they can reschedule their work accordingly instead of being uninformed about the entire scenario.
All in all, comprehensive pre-delivery inspection and seamless communication during the delivery prevent such delays. While a streamlined route planning method also helps in avoiding such delays.
Challenge 2 – Lack Of Transparency
Transparency is paramount to businesses because customers like to know where their parcel is and when they can receive it.
Certain factors disturb the delivery timeline of an item, which means that the shipping and logistics service fails to maintain transparency at all delivery processes.
To maintain transparency across the delivery processes and keep the customers well-informed on their packages' current status, businesses can leverage the tracking systems. It can help them generate tracking codes that allow customers to gain visibility about their parcels in real-time.
Challenge 3 – High Shipping Costs
One of the other challenges that come with last-mile delivery is that it is expensive and leads to high shipping costs. 28% of the overall delivery cost is due to the last-mile. With delayed delivery penalties, adhering to definite ETAs is another blockade itself.
Along the same lines, the instability makes it incredibly difficult to decide on the right amounts of inventory. It's also a challenge to manage your temporary staff and deal with various other factors that contribute to overheads.
One of the biggest challenges that 35% of the manufacturers, logistics providers, and retailers face in last-mile delivery is reducing logistics-related costs.
To overcome and avoid incurring high costs, you need to deploy useful software that helps you monitor and assess all your planning and organizing.
That way, you can gauge your overall approach accurately and make the required changes accordingly. Ultimately, you can take on a feasible approach and increase the efficiency of your delivery processes.
Challenge 4 – Low Efficiency
Customers are the binding force who push for increased efficiency when it comes to e-commerce logistics. They want and expect faster deliveries.
However, it is unlikely to alleviate the ineffectiveness in your logistic and delivery processes completely. Moreover, lower efficiency in the previous mile delivery services adversely impacts your customer's expectations.
You can achieve increased efficiency throughout your supply chain operations by leveraging effective last-mile delivery technological solutions. Technology is critical if you want to ensure smooth and seamless last-mile delivery.
With the right automated delivery system, you can considerably enhance your logistics' overall efficiency and decrease the total delivery time.
Challenge 5 – Returned Deliveries
The packages may be returned because of an incorrect address, customer unavailability, or perhaps the customer doesn't like it.
These factors significantly add to the delivery's potential costs and increase the burden on the logistics company as well as your business.
When you receive returned deliveries, it is sensible to take the returned order, properly re-box it, and adjust it back into the inventory. It is also vital to have robust inventory management planning to avoid any mishaps and substantial losses.
Challenge 6 – Miscommunication Along The Delivery Chain
Businesses perform the planning, organization, and execution processes of the last mile in different parts of the supply chain. This indicates that the carriers, couriers, and customers conditionally relate to each other and have distinct business goals.
It is vital to communicate explicitly during the delivery processes with all the involved parties to avoid any issues that may arise with the package delivery details.
In many cases, businesses fail to provide this crucial communication to their customers leaving them unable to track and monitor their orders with real-time notifications.
Prepare a clear communication plan and effectively implement it among your last-mile delivery processes to ensure the right direction and inform the customers about the expected/estimated arrival time of their packages.
That way, you can guarantee a transparent exchange of information related to delivery and enhances the overall customer experience.
Challenge 7 – Planned Delivery
Planned deliveries include several variables that a business needs to take into account, leading to discrepancies.
Businesses that want to provide their customers the convenience of last-mile delivery options should also efficiently handle their supply chain operations and dispatch orders at scale.
With planned deliveries, complex operations and tight delivery timeframes require fulfillment operations. Every delivery component must run in perfect synchronization. Even if a single aspect of the delivery process halts, it can expose your order of the last mile to potential delays or errors.
Leveraging automated flow management for delivery purposes can enable the drivers to onboard and complete their orders intuitively and quickly.
Moreover, this can expedite the entire logistics process. It becomes easier to offer necessary updates to the respective clients in real-time, collect delivery proof, tips, signatures, and more.
Furthermore, having an automated last-mile delivery routing system in place helps you monitor all the variables efficiently.
Challenge 8 – Same-Day Deliveries
Same-day or quick deliveries are sometimes deferred due to lack of planning, high costs or the limited resources.
Businesses' ability to offer various delivery services that suit the customers is critical in today's cluttered e-commerce field. In-store pickup, free delivery, same-day delivery, etc., can target different customers and satisfy them.
However, one size fits all approach doesn't go well with last-mile deliveries. While some customers may prefer to wait longer for their order if that's a cheaper option, others may choose to pay more for faster service.
Providing multiple options to your customers can also be technologically confusing. You need to have the right systems and tools to ensure higher success rates by maintaining prompt deliveries.
You can overcome this hurdle by leveraging flexible technology for last-mile deliveries and enables you to efficiently manage your supply chain operations, multi-day and same-day deliveries alike.
It requires robust planning to orchestrate your delivery flow and maintain a seamless package delivery system without affecting reliability and quality.
This much accurate integration and planning for your last-mile logistics are nearly unmanageable without adequate technological support.
As the shipping and delivery landscape changes rapidly, you need to adjust to this transforming industry and overcome the challenges that arise with it.
This is the right time to implement automated delivery systems and highly planned solutions to eradicate these roots' challenges.