First it was Amazon, and then it was COVID-19. Over the past few years, last mile has been through a revolution.
As many companies race to meet new demands and grow their last mile, they compromise their margins and customer service. Letting these two crucial pieces falter while you’re trying to scale your last mile can cripple your company.
You can grow your final mile footprint while maintaining exceptional margins and customer service. Start by avoiding these mistakes:
Not Establishing Clear Compliance
Setting compliance standards for your last mile carriers is an important first step in your relationship. Discussing and agreeing upon delivery expectations may seem like a slow-down during carrier onboarding, but it ensures higher margins and exceptional customer delivery experiences.
If you’re unsure of where to start with compliance, here are a few important points to cover with your carriers:
- Scanning: when should your carriers scan their package to provide the needed tracking updates? When scanned, the package, along with its GPS coordinate information are sent back to you, the shipper. You may want to establish a scan upon receipt of the package, loading onto a truck for delivery, and at the item’s delivery location.
- Signature and delivery verification: What confirmation of delivery completion is needed? Is a photo of the package in its delivery location (i.e. the front porch) acceptable or should the driver obtain consignee signatures? Has this requirement changed as a result of the pandemic? It’s worth discussing clearly with the carrier.
- Exceptions: If a delivery goes “out of norm” what information needs to be transmitted back to you, this shipper? Establish a process for damaged packages, orders that are unable to be delivered, etc.
Once compliance standards are established with your carriers, you can monitor compliance regularly to ensure standards are being met. To learn more about monitoring compliance and what KPI’s you should be watching, read this article.
Not Preparing for Adequate Capacity
Maintaining a carrier network with adequate capacity is important, as is the ability to add capacity quickly without service interruptions.
Peak season, pandemics and shopping fads can all cause sudden spikes in orders, leaving you quickly searching for additional capacity to help fulfill deliveries. Having a network of secondary and even tertiary carriers on hand and contracted, ready to serve in your markets can be the difference in maintaining customer service during peak season.
Your carrier network should also offer diverse service offerings, contracted and available to you when new last mile delivery needs arrive. For example, should you need to add a specialty service such as Hazmat or an assembly offering, having experienced carriers ready that can fulfill those needs accelerates your time to being fully operational, reducing margins and improving service.
Bringing Technology In-house
Trying to develop every part of your supply chain technology can take decades, piles of money and cause mistakes made by a team unfamiliar with last mile. Choosing to go it alone instead of involving experienced partners in your technology strategy can be the difference in your ability to profitably grow and scale your last mile effectively instead of killing your margins and service.
Find reliable technology partners that will add value to your supply chain. Utilize their expertise to grow your last mile faster and more effectively.
Grow Your Last Mile Right
As you grow and scale your last mile, we’re here for you.
eTrac simplifies the process with a single integration that connects you with your complete last mile network. You can take advantage of the efficiencies from allowing carriers to remain on their existing operational system, and improved service with real-time alerts and analysis dashboards.
Learn more about the eTrac system, take a product tour here.