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Last-mile logistics is the most important stage in the supply chain. This includes receiving an order from a warehouse and delivering it on time to the customer, store, or a specific pick-up point.
How have customers’ expectations changed as e-commerce has increased?
The dynamic growth of e-commerce has changed the behavior and purchasing habits of customers.
In the past, customers were able to use two types of delivery:
- Affordable postal services and
- Courier services.
The purchasing process took longer then than it does now because each customer could visit the stores in person, compare offers and decide where to buy the product.
Today, customers have better access to goods and their wider delivery thanks to e-commerce. Consumers can pick up their packages at any time at the pick-up points according to the concept of out-of-house delivery.
The noticeable increase in online orders means that many companies need to improve the logistics of the last stage.
What are the challenges of the logistics of the last stage?
Among the most difficult logistical challenges of the last-mile is the increase in orders requiring efficient logistics and the very short delivery time of certain goods to the destination. Another challenge is the organization of the logistics team and the smooth flow of information through modern monitoring systems and data processing. The number of larger orders increases the complexity of the logistical process of the last stage. This requires flexibility from carriers and designs the best routes for drivers.
How can the logistics of the last stage be improved?
The logistical management of the last mile varies depending on the business sector.
- The B2B industry consists of two stages: the raw materials are transported to the production plant and the finished products are shipped to a shop, warehouse, or another collection point.
- In the B2C segment, the logistics of the last stage are a complicated process, mainly due to the problem of reconciling high transport costs with timely transport. Owners of online stores, who recognize the demand for the products they sell, should strive to reduce the routes taken by suppliers.
Planning logistics activities is a step towards better organization within the company and increased flexibility that allows for faster deliveries. However, it is also important to ensure efficient warehouse activities, as without them it is difficult to maintain the logistics of an efficient final stage.
Another challenge is the fact that modern retail shoppers want to receive their packages as soon as possible while maintaining a certain level of security and at a reasonable delivery price, which is extremely difficult to reconcile. All consumers want to keep track of their delivery, and many modern systems allow customers to monitor the delivery through a link that is convenient for them and provides an overview of the whole process.
Why is timeliness so important in the logistics of the last stage?
Timely transport is particularly important. Any downtime due to the lack of the ordered parts will stop the production process and cause huge financial losses for the company.
This is why efficient and timely delivery should form the basis of any logistics company that wants to survive in the current market and which has a good relationship with customers. When receiving their package, the customer evaluates the quality and duration of the entire logistics process. This has a significant impact on their views on the company and on further purchasing decisions. Raising customer expectations and meeting these needs should be a priority for any company that prides itself on good customer relationships.
How to maintain the efficiency of the supply chain during the epidemic?
Maintaining supply chain efficiency increases efficiency and can be a source of inspiring innovation.
- Efficient planning and execution in the supply chain are possible on the basis of data, e.g. in road transport, where we have many participants (freight forwarders, hauliers), access to data is particularly important. The efficiency of the supply chain is the result of the productivity of people, devices, and systems, among others.
Adapting logistics companies to rapidly changing circumstances and customer expectations is crucial for business growth. The quality and efficient last-mile logistics of companies guarantee competitive advantage and lasting relationships with customers in each sector. It is worth noting that the development of last-mile logistics depends not only on the efficiency of transportation. You need to analyze the entire supply chain and improve the elements that need to be repaired.
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